One might say that Janet was the first HEAL mom ever. Although she never received a grant from HEAL, she was the inspiration for the Happily Ever After League. Janet was introduced to the organization’s founder through a mutual friend of Lauren’s husband. She thought it would be a kind gesture for Lauren to reach out to Janet because she had just relocated to Arizona with her family when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lauren called Janet and they found that they had much more in common then a cancer diagnosis. They were both faith filled, busy moms of three children.
One day Lauren called to check in on Janet and she explained that she was so glad that her last chemo treatment was the next day but that she could not talk long because she had to bring her son to hockey practice. It was literally at this moment in time when Lauren realized how difficult it is to be a mom with cancer.
Janet and Lauren realize that their breast cancer diagnosis and chance meeting was not necessarily by chance but destined to be so that HEAL can support so many women. Janet was diagnosed in 2004 and is cancer free living in Florida with her family. Janet and her husband Marc continue to be generous supporters of HEAL and although Lauren and Janet live across the country, they will always have a beautiful connection.
Deni has a grade four gioblastoma multiforme and had surgery to remove her brain tumor in 2004. She retired from the corporate world when she was diagnosed with brain cancer and she lives life to the fullest every moment of every day. She just became an empty nester when her daughter Sarah moved to Flagstaff to attend NAU. Sarah is her pride and joy and was one of the 2010 recipients of the Laura Mylonas Scholarship from HEAL. Her husband Bob is her rock and she has a wonderful, supportive family. Deni is still required to fly to Houston, Texas to MD Anderson every eight weeks to ensure her tumor is still stable and over five years later it remains stable. Deni lights up a room and her zest and love of life is a definite example that you can live Happily Ever After a cancer diagnosis.
Rhonda was one of the first moms that ever received support from HEAL. Her story was very memorable because her sarcoma cancer spread to her lungs and she was required to have numerous surgeries and a portion of her lung removed. Rhonda literally had to move into the Mayo Clinic for one year to receive chemo treatments and was in for the battle of her life.
She had to be away from her husband Matt and sons Adam and Ryan who were ages three and nine when she was diagnosed. Rhonda persevered and is the victor over cancer and has lived cancer free since 2003. She has an amazing outlook on life even though all these years later cancer still has financial impact on her life.
Rhonda started her own business called Picture This which is a portable picture booth that she brings to weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs and school dances. She literally is the life of the party.
Michelle has beat breast cancer not only once, but twice. She has had to go through numerous surgeries since she was diagnosed in 2006 but she has been blessed with a clean bill of health. Michelle and her husband Steve have enjoyed participating in activities at the HEALing House with their precious little girl Ashley and in turn have become wonderful supporters of HEAL. Michelle now has a seat on the HEAL Board of Directors and has taken on many fund raising projects to help give back to moms in the community. It is heart warming to see Michelles’s story come full circle.