WINK (Women Into Networking Kindness)
On behalf of WINK (Women Into Networking Kindness) we are proud to present Breastless and Beautiful’s 2019-2020 Interactive Story Calendar. The journey throughout this project has been life altering. We set out to change the lives of others and had no idea that we as a team would end up forever changed ourselves.
Our adventure began with Kerry Churchill. She was embarking on her second battle with breast cancer all while her mom was dying from the same disease. Listening to her story as she described her struggles physically, mentally and financially, we realized her battle with breast cancer was much more than the scars that marked her body.
We often look at breast cancer and think about being breastless as tragic because that is what people see and struggle to accept. When these people face their own mortality, the change in their physical appearance is one thing, but how it impacts their lives is far deeper than the scars. They are not fighting to save their breasts, they are fighting to be there for their children, to take care of loved ones, and to do all of the simple little things in life that matter most — the things that people take for granted. Having the opportunity to listen to their journey provided us with a brief insight into their lives. We realized that the best way to do justice to our warriors was for them to tell you their stories in their own words. There isn’t a photo in the world that can encompass the strength and courage it takes to survive the wrath of cancer.
Cancer reaches far beyond treatment and the aftermath can be just as difficult to overcome. Can you imagine what it feels like to have a home invasion and going to sleep every night knowing your intruder knows how to get into your home because they’ve been there before? These are the stories that scars cannot tell but the words of the warriors themselves, how they survived and are still trying to survive allows us insight into their battle against breast cancer. After eight months of scheduling photoshoots around chemotherpy, doctor visits and downtime for these warriors, we realized something extraordinary — these twelve people gave up their precious time to help the lives of others, even if their own time was borrowed. That is truly inspiring. In each photo in this treasured gift from them, we hope you see beyond the scars, beyond the photos and take a walk in their shoes.
On behalf of WINK, our warriors and the countless people who will benefit from your purchase of this calendar, we thank you for your act of kindness in becoming part of our journey and for letting us become part of yours.
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Message from Dana Metcalfe, President of WINK
My name is Dana Metcalfe and I am the project manager and lead coordinator of Breastless and Beautiful. I am proud mother of two beautiful boys – Logan and Seth. I’ve always believed in teaching by example, and what better way to show your children compassion and gratitude than to support the community that we live in. Considering they are the people who are going to carve our future and take care of things when we leave, we should start them young! When we lived in Alberta, my children were feeding the homeless and collecting mittens hats and scarfs as early as 5 years old. We would drive around in our ca, never afraid of who we would meet, but rather empathetic of the harsh circumstances people fall upon.
Compassion has been an infection in our lives and once we caught it there was no stopping us. We have spearheaded Just Breathed for battered women, helped over 500 women in their time of need with Suit Yourself, worked with Edmonton Police and battered women, and we can’t forget our cancer friends in Alberta with Fashion for Compassion. None of this was done without an amazing team of people who found inspiration in helping others.
Since we’ve come home to Newfoundland, in just four short years we have created a calendar for Bella’s Secret Garden, raising money for her treatments in Toronto at Sick Kids. Our team also founded Out of the Ashes in support of the fire victims returning home from the Fort McMurray fires. And let's not forget the Vera Perlin Society Adults with Disabilities, a cause that's so near and dear to my heart. Our family in St. Philips has hosted fundraisers annually that include local dances and a haunted house. We are so proud to say that they have given my Uncle Peter Clarke an award in his memory and that legacy will continue in his memory and love for the program.
So how did we end up making a calendar for Breast Cancer patients? Two years ago I lost my best friend Tracy to breast cancer. She was a pillar of strength for the cancer community and until her dying day she was fundraising for others even though she herself was in financial trouble. When Tracy was days away from dying, I asked her if she wanted me to come to Edmonton. Her response was: please take what you would pay for a ticket and help save my home for my children. While she was going through treatments, her property tax had lapsed and was about to put her home in to repossession. We saved her home, but I never did get to say goodbye to my friend. There are some people you meet that never leave your heart, and Tracy was my best friend, my birthday twin, and my unconditional love in another woman. She continued to inspire even in her passing. So much so that in my small studio in St. Philip's I started hosting Karma Days. What is a Karma Day? It’s a day that patients going through or are in remission of cancer can come and get pampered to make them feel more human and have some small luxuries that they couldn’t afford because of the financial strain of their illness. This is where I met Kerry Churchill.
The first time I met Kerry, she was in remission and had beautiful short hair. We shared a day at my studio full of hope and inspiration for the future. Some people are meant to grace you and others are meant to stay. Kerry and I kept in touch and one day not so long ago she found a lump in her neck. Kerry knew in her heart at that time that her cancer was back. She followed up with her doctor and was diagnosed with a fast moving incurable cancer that was going to end her life:( She called me and said Dana it’s time for me to cut my hair for battle and this cancer is not going to win. So I invited her to a private appointment bought a bottle of champagne and was about to step on to our journey together as friends. This is where Breastless and Beautiful was born. Two women in a basement both single mothers and one who’s dying wish was to create a calendar leaving a legacy of support for patients that cannot afford the side effects of cancer. At that point it was an idea and over the coming days a commitment was formed. I can’t help but think Tracy is behind all of this and put Kerry and I together to continue on hers, mine and Kerry’s mission of hope. It is with that in mind we stepped into the future with a collection of brave women who give their hearts, time and love to a shared vision. Most of our volunteers are cancer patients and survivors. No one i know has escaped the reach of cancer, if not themselves but has touching them in some way. We at WINK (Women Into Networking Kindness) are proud to present to the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Centre Patient and Family Support Fund a gift from those who have passed, those who continue to fight and the community that surrounds them. This fund is available to all cancer patients exclusively in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
This Christmas 2019 we will make a difference in how cancer looks to in our community. I am proud to be part of such an amazing journey. I am proud of everyone who has committed to working with us and I am proud of the patients that fight in the trenches of Cancer.
I hope you all love what we create as it is love that brought us together.
In memory of my beautiful Tracy – this one's for you! ♥️
Dana Metcalfe (WINK)