Kick Cancer Cards
from Stay Positive Greetings
At Stay Positive Greetings our goal is to offer positive support to women who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Our greeting cards are also designed to provide a look at the funny side of this decidedly un-funny disease. Touching on different areas of treatment, our humorous cards allow women to laugh a little in the midst of their fight against cancer. We also give those who “don’t know what to say” an upbeat message to send, as well as provide some insight as to what their loved one is going through at each phase of her treatment.
Kathy DiPofi Shelton (owner)
In 2006 our family was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had the actual disease but my husband and our two young children had to go through every step of the treatment process with me. How I handled this would set the tone for all of us. After days filled with despair and what ifs, I finally realized that I could spend my time crying or I could spend my time laughing. I chose to laugh.
Once I had this attitude I was amazed at how much I found to laugh at throughout my treatment. My husband, Clay, remarked that my chemotherapy sessions were like a big party. Here were all these women hooked up to IVs, laughin’ and whoopin’ it up like it was Girls’ Night Out. Which it was in a way. It was the one time that we could all let down our hair (so to speak) and just be ourselves. We found laughter and support with each other because we were all going through the same things. Our very own Chemo Posse.
Understandably, it was harder for my friends and family to laugh with me about cancer. I made a point of sending out periodic emails where I updated everyone on my progress. I tried to keep them positive and throw in a funny comment when I could. In one such email near the end of my treatment, I informed my girlfriends that I knew my hair was officially back because I had to start shaving my legs again. My friend, Stephanie, replied: “Congratulations. There should be a card for that.” And thus the idea for Stay Positive Greetings was born.
The support our family received that year was incredible. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of dinners, cards, emails and phone calls we received. We knew we could never pay everyone back so we made a vow to pay forward instead. Thus we are donating 10% of every sale to cancer related charities. It is our hope that our cards will encourage women going through cancer to stay positive and say, “I choose to laugh.”
Jennifer Reynolds (illustrator)
One day, Kathy and I were together watching our kids play when the topic of going back to work came up. A stay-at-home mom, I mentioned that I was interested in working again in graphic design, illustration, or something in the arts. Soon after, Kathy approached me with the idea of breast cancer cards that would help women laugh at the funnier side of treatment of their not-so-funny cancer. She wanted an artist to bring her characters and their situations to life.
What an opportunity! This work has been a perfect fit for me, since I am personally acquainted with the realities of breast cancer -- my grandmother and mother both went through treatment for it while I was in my twenties. I knew early on that I was at risk.
When I was 28, I found a lump in my own breast during a self exam. The first doctor tried to biopsy it, but got nothing. The second doctor felt it, but said keep a watch on it. The third doctor, my mother's surgeon, felt it and removed it on my 29th birthday. Those few weeks were awful. My lump was non-cancerous, but the experience gave me a power I didn't know I had. I started running as soon as it was healed. Two months later, I ran a 5K on my wedding anniversary. Women I told about this all had their own stories to tell, or stories of their mothers, aunts, grandmas, friends, the list goes on. It seems no one is safe from this disease!
Kathy and I would meet each week to discuss ideas and illustrations. During one of those meetings, she mentioned her Chemo Posse and how they were always whoopin' it up in treatment. It reminded me of a breast cancer support group meeting I went to years ago (I was a writer for hospital publications at the time). There I was, sitting in the back of a hospital conference room, taking notes on these stories, thinking of my family, playing the what-if-it-happens-to-me game. All of a sudden, the youngest member, age 26, sprang forth, ripped off her mousy brown bobbed wig, and yelled "I am beautiful!" One by one, the moms, the grandmas, the aunts of this support group also pulled off their wigs and thus the party began. I learned then that we women laugh, we cry, we share our feelings, we learn from our life experiences, and we grow from those experiences, too.
I am honored to be a part of Stay Positive Greetings. There are plenty of women out there ready to laugh at these crazy situations that happen during treatment and recovery. Maybe you are one of them, or maybe you have a friend or loved one going through this. If so, I wish you all well, and hope the characters on the cards give you all the strength to feel what you need to feel about this disease. You might be surprised to find you and your loved ones ready to laugh. But I'm really not surprised at all.