When I was 15, I was in Home Economics class. Back then, iodine deficiency and education about iodine was a big deal. Iodine deficiency can cause calcifications and can develop into goiters. In our textbook, a boy was touching his neck to see if he had a goiter in his neck. All of the students in our class started to feel their necks. I rolled my hand up and down my neck and could feel a large lump.
My teacher sent me to the school nurse. The note home asked my grandparents to take me to the doctor. That week we went to have it biopsied. The results showed a very rare type of thyroid cancer. It had spread into my lymph nodes. The surgery to remove the cancer was invasive. My lymph nodes were also impacted. The surgery left me with a large scar from the back of my neck to the front across my chest. I was so self conscious about the way I looked that I found it hard to even celebrate the surgery was successful.
For a teenager, the outward impact was something I just was not prepared to deal with. Several of my peers began bringing me scarves that were cute and matched my style. The scarves were very helpful in helping me hide my scars, but in a way that I did not stand out so much. Through this process and the support of my friends, I learned the importance of turning trauma into bravery.
Not doing your cancer journey alone is a life lesson that helped me make it through and reach an abundant destination that I want to pay forward to all others on their journey.
That is what motivated me to start Scarves For Scars. I wanted to develop a fashion product line combined with a fundraising model that empowers people to put their scars and impacts of disease on display and invite the public to enlarge the impact for awareness and funding programs that are needed to accelerate the benefits of cancer research.