Reconstruction and restoration are the name of the game in the world of breast cancer. Reconstruction rebuilds what was physically taken away while restoration gradually occurs as your heart and mind mend, affirming everything really will be OK.
Restoration also breathes new life into vintage sheets and scraps of metal until they resemble the vehicles they were designed to be.
... And on rare occasion, you discover that the world of breast cancer and classic cars intertwine.
Today I found myself at the 30th Annual St. Ann's Seafood Fiesta and Big Fish Car Show in Decatur, AL. I found myself there because my husband organizes the car show portion, so it's kind of a must, even if I would have preferred to fold laundry while watching The Crown. But had I gotten caught up with Queen Elizabeth and my fitted sheets I wouldn't have met Michelle Baker, the proud owner of a 1971 Chevrolet C10 that's designed with a message.
I chatted with Michelle for awhile and learned she had always wanted an old work truck, but once she got one she decided it should do more than haul stuff. Having a functional truck was great, but having one with a sense of purpose was far better.
You see, breast cancer has taken several of Michelle's family members and she's experienced a few scares herself. She understands first-hand the importance of mammograms and early detection, and knows not everyone can afford them. That's why her truck proudly displays decals that honor women who've died from breast cancer, are fighting breast cancer, or need that gentle reminder to get a mammogram. One of the vinyl decals is for the website Joy to Life, an organization that helps cover mammogram costs for under-insured women.
For a small donation, she'll add your name, or that of a loved one, onto the side of her truck. All the money goes to one of a couple of organizations geared toward research and early detection. She said she hopes over time to see more names honoring women who are fighting than those who've died, a small indicator that we're winning the battle.
It amazes me how many people have been touched by breast cancer. And even more amazingly is how once you are, you're driven to do something about it. No longer can you sit in the comfort of your living room, shaking your head, thinking, "Oh, that poor soul. Hope she makes it." You find yourself asking, "What can I do to help that person make it?" I've felt so supported on this journey, and if you're on it, I hope you do too. I've discovered there are lots of Michelles in the world, they just don't all have a truck as eye-catching as hers.
I nabbed this pic from Michelle's FB page because I failed to get a wide shot. You'd think after years of shooting video where "wide, medium, tight" were drilled into my head I would have remembered to step back for a wide angle, but no. I'm more of a lost in the weeds type who overlooks the big picture. Oops!
Retailers decorate their stores with Christmas décor before the autumnal equinox has an opportunity to bend the sunlight and cool the air. Why? We all know it’s because silvery tinsel and evergreen trees entice us to spend…especially when there’s a little Bing playing in the background. Pink in the month of October has a similar effect. It’s all around us, so when we’re told at the checkout that a percentage of what we spend will go toward cancer research, we say, “Then gosh darn, get me two!” It makes us feel good.
Ann Silberman has been blogging about her breast cancer journey at But Doctor, I Hate Pink since 2009 and knows the ropes. She recently posted on Facebook the following advice that I considered too good not to share:
“Please give money wisely. Don't give to anybody who simply asks while you are in a line as much of that money goes nowhere. If you are tempted, ask where the money is going and look the charity up on your phone. Remember: you want to give for direct patient support, or metastatic research. If their main focus is "awareness" they are useless. There are many small charities in your own town that do good work. Find them and give there.”
Do you have a local breast cancer charity that you could support? If not, I can tell you of an amazing one that’s here in northern Alabama called The Rack Pack, a 501(c)3 organization organized by breast cancer survivors. Yes, I’m a member (you can see some of our smiling faces at the top of my blog page wearing the green shirts) and every penny we raise goes directly toward helping people who are fighting breast cancer.
If you want to help this October, consider bidding on some artwork for your office or home. The Rack Pack is currently hosting its 2nd Annual Brushstrokes for Breast Cancer Exhibit & Online Auction. To view the pieces (there’s jewelry too) and bid, or to simply find out more about the event, visit Brushstrokes for Breast Cancer.
Just yesterday when I was checking out at Kroger, the cashier asked if I’d like to donate to breast cancer research and I emphatically told her no. Then I nervously giggled as I told her, “and I have breast cancer!” Not sure why I felt compelled to tell her that. As she stared at me, I politely added, “I like to do my own research before donating money.”
Funny that the title "Author" appears above this description yet I have no idea what to share about myself in this space! How about my first name is Kim. My last name is Tisor. Tisor rhymes with miser, though I try not to be one.
For more information about me, please visit the author page.