You know that Pink Carts play a small but important part in the fight against breast cancer. But how did they come to be? Blogger Jo-Anne Perkins shares a moving story about her mother’s battle with breast cancer, and how that battle influenced her life.
Breast cancer stole my Mother.
Breast cancer has haunted my life for twenty-three years, ever since it stole my Mother from our family. While many memories have faded some details remain and often replay in my mind as if they happened recently. I remember being told the terrible news and how my thoughts starting wandering to the smell of burnt toast in the air and then suddenly there was no air and I couldn’t catch a full breath. I remember thinking about the chair I was sitting in and feeling little and wanting to fade into the fabric so that my Dad couldn’t see me anymore and would, of course, just stop talking. I remember the disbelief and yet I don’t remember tears. I don’t think there were tears, only fear.
My story is all too familiar.
My story is similar to thousands of other people that have lived through the anguish of watching women they love die from breast cancer. There is shock, disbelief, denial and then adrenaline which surfaces with the hope that you can change the outcome.
In just a couple of short months we learned that none of us could actually change the outcome, but our Mom’s passing did change our lives in ways that were both sad and wonderful. When she first got sick I was a newlywed and launching a new business with children planned sometime beyond five years, if at all. However, I had this crazy idea (remember the adrenaline?) that if there was a new baby then my Mother would consider her life really worth fighting for so I changed my plans and miraculously conceived a baby within weeks, but then lost my Mother to breast cancer shortly afterwards.
My Mom would have been a proud grandmother.
Our daughter was born nine months later and now at 23 she is an extraordinary person that has dedicated much of her life to missionary work abroad. A young woman of immense inner personal strength who lives her life in service of God and I am completely in awe of her grace. Her grandmother would have been extremely proud to know her, in my heart I believe she does.
A powerful coincidence and a chance to make a difference.
For years I’ve looked for ways to make a positive contribution in the fight against breast cancer; my two sisters and I are at heightened risk, along with millions of other women.
I spend much of my time working at a job I love, as the General Manager with Cascade Engineering, a Grand Rapids, Michigan company that makes rolling plastic trash carts. Cascade is a really innovative company that encourages its employees to think creatively and be entrepreneurial.
On September 1st, 2009, the 23rd anniversary of my Mom’s passing, our executive team was brainstorming ideas and because my mind and heart were elsewhere, I suggested that we create a Pink Cart campaign and give $5 from the purchase of every cart to the American Cancer Society (ACS) to be used in the fight against breast cancer. For me the suggestion was very personal but for the team it resonated as a way to do a really good thing for society and the business at the same time.
I encourage you to buy a Pink Cart and become part of the solution.
I am truly blessed with amazing and talented teammates at Cascade Engineering and before I knew it we were partnered with ACS, manufacturing pink carts and raising funds in the fight against breast cancer. I encourage you to purchase a pink cart, roll it to the curb, and let your friends and family know that you are part of the solution.
I am proud and profoundly humbled to be the first blogger on this site, which has been launched to provide a place for anyone who wants to share a story similar to mine or who wants to read about the experiences of others.
My Mother’s name was Arlen Kerr and she was an amazing woman that I honor today, and every day. Thank you.