We hope everyone had a special Mother’s Day and spent time with loved ones. This Mother’s Day was bittersweet for our Eye of the Survivor family as we lost one of our favorite moms, Survivor sisters and beloved friends.
It is with a heavy heart we share the news that Debby Stith, a featured Survivor in our 2016 calendar, passed away on April 26.
Debby epitomized true survivor strength even coming up with her own phrase, “A setback is a setup for greater comeback.” And Debby was the queen of comebacks, never succumbing to her breast cancer fight. When cancer returned, Debby fought back harder. Debby fought for nine years, never giving up. We send our deepest condolences to the entire Stith family.
When someone we love passes, it’s hard to speak about survival and keeping a fighter spirit – but it’s in times like these when we must fight even harder and spread awareness even more. Debby’s journey will never be in vain because she has inspired us and will continue to inspire us for many years to come.
Another woman who shares this fighter spirit is Angelina Killane-Sims. Angelina is our featured Survivor for May and the Founder and CEO of AAngelsNJ, a cancer awareness organization based out of New Jersey. We were excited to team with AAngelsNJ for our 2017 calendar, sending half our proceeds directly to them!
Angelina started AAngelsNJ in 2011 hoping to help reduce the numbers in breast cancer cases and breast cancer related deaths that are due to late stage diagnosis as she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in late 2007.
During a routine exam, Angelina’s OB/GYN found a large lump in her left breast, which she hadn’t even noticed. She had experienced a burning sensation across her left chest area but attributed it to working out, thinking she pulled a muscle. She stayed with the pain and discomfort for about nine months not giving it much thought until her doctor found the lump.
“I attribute my late stage diagnosis to a lack of breast cancer awareness and my lack of understanding that at age 40 it is highly recommended and important to begin having a yearly mammogram.”
Today Angelina is a breast cancer survivor but her battle continues as last year she was still undergoing reconstructive surgeries, nearly nine years after her diagnosis.
“I searched deep inside to find what God wanted me to learn from this experience in my life. I believe it was for me to help spread breast cancer awareness and education throughout my community, to my family, friends and all who would listen.”
Last year AAngelsNJ partnered with a local Pop Warner football team, the Montclair Bulldogs, to organize the Powder Puff game, an annual fundraiser for breast cancer where women play flag football for a cause, cure and awareness.
“All that I want to do is to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, ‘Because of you, I didn’t give up.’”
To learn more about AAngelsNJ, click here, or check them out on Facebook.
Angelina, you have inspired us and we’re honored to have teamed with you this year. You’re also celebrating a birthday this month so we wish you the most fabulous day and year ahead!
But on those tough days when you struggle to find strength, join us as we think back to Debby to regain some of our own strength. In the words of one of her most favorite phrases, “Cancer may knock me around and some days it may even knock me down, but it will never knock me out.”
RIP Debby, you will ALWAYS be a part of this family and we will remember you with admiration and affection.
Until next time everyone, keep your Eye on Strength.