20 Girls. 40 Miles. 1 Mission.

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Meet Pink Links – a group of 20 incredible women on a mission to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of self-exams. This weekend, Pink Links are undertaking the 40 Mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in NYC to support their good friend Hillary Kaplan, and other special women in their lives. Their mission is centered around the importance of self-examinations and early diagnosis. The ladies from Pink Links gain strength in numbers and positive energy – together, they have raised over $57,000 with hope to find a cure!

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Dogeared was touched and inspired by the Pink Links story and decided to send 70 custom necklaces with HOPE for Pink Links to wear and share on their journey this weekend. Follow us, as we follow the Pink Links, over the next few days on their awe-inspiring mission! Wishing the best of luck to the Pink Links team:

Amy Rollins, Jonna Berman, Heather Bloch, Allison Cohen, Helene Coustan, Nicole Frankel, Pamela Friedman, Leanne Glassman, Lauren Gottlieb, Laurie Grossman, Beth Jarecki, Lauren Laconti, Lisa Meiselman, Lauren Roth, Gerri Rothfleisch, Pamela Sachs, Renee Sherman, Miriam Silver Verga, Jennifer Wallis and meet their friend and inspiration, Hillary Kaplan.

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My Journey – Hillary Kaplan

I found a tiny lump in my breast in June 2013, it was something I never felt before and was different than the normal lumps we all feel in our breasts. I check myself every once in a while, usually in the shower as it is the easiest place to do it.  I went for a mammography for peace of mind and my doctor had some concern that I should get a biopsy.  It turned out that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, early stage 1A.  After a large amount of thinking, debating, and soul-searching, I decided to opt for aggressive treatment and get a bilateral mastectomy, which was performed on August 14, 2013 at Memorial Sloan Kettering. During the surgery, my doctor found one lymph node positive which bumped me up to stage 2A.  I have now gone through my first of 8 rounds of Chemotherapy, every other week, which is scheduled to continue into January. During this entire process, I have tried my best to approach every decision step by step, dealing with the question or issue that was being presented to me at that time and based on the solid advice of my doctors. As importantly, I realized quickly that I wasn’t fighting cancer alone – I was provided the most amazing and humbling outpouring of community support, from our neighbors, our wonderful group of Westfield lady friends (Pink Links), and our family including my husband and 3 children (ages 9-14).  I continue to feel fortunate for my support network every day. The best medicine (in addition to the Chemo!) is knowing you have people who care about you, whether it is bringing over a pair of PJ’s after I left the hospital, or a bracelet, or flowers, or cooking a meal for my family, or sending a card, or a note, or a text … all those tokens of love and care really keep the fire going within me.  For me it has never been, “why me?”, I know why – in part, I believe that my experience might be able to help other women, to get to know your body, check yourself, go to yearly exams and be in control of your health.  I have faced cancer head-on like I face life — with a positive attitude, honesty, dignity with some style sprinkled on top. When I do close this chapter of my life, I will be that much stronger for it and thank all the angels who have touched my life and helped me thru this journey. 

photo credit: Joanie Schwarz Photography

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