‘Tis the season for giving. For some that means spending lots of time and money shopping for a perfect gift to exchange at the holiday get-together. For others, like Angie Fuller and Rosetta Butler, it’s about looking for ways to pay it forward.
Angie and Rosetta are both breast cancer survivors. They’ve spent the past two years battling a disease most everyone fears, enduring chemo treatments and surgeries, and feeling flat-out fatigued.
“Last year, Christmas was just kind of sad,” shares Angie. “This year, I have my energy back. It’s just a joyful time – a humbling experience to still be here.”
Angie was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in January 2018. Despite the devastating diagnosis, she credits Bon Secours with keeping her spirits up as she battled the disease.
“From the time I walked in, with the greeting from the valet, to the time I walked out, everyone I met made me feel like I was the only patient they had,” the 53-year-old remembers with a smile. “I was never treated anything less than the best.”
Rosetta’s story is very similar. She also received her diagnosis in January 2018, after finding a lump in her breast during a self-exam. Thanks to the care both ladies received at Bon Secours St. Francis Cancer Center, they have completed treatment and are now ready to return the kindness they credit with getting them through.
“That’s how Pearls & Pumps came into play. They asked me about it, and I was honored to do it,” says Rosetta.
The 6th annual Pearls & Pumps even took place back in October. The event is a fundraiser for the Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health and includes vendor booths and a delicious dinner. The inspiring program also features local women sharing their experience fighting breast cancer as well as a fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors.
“It was our first time and it was a great experience,” says Rosetta. “We met so many people through that event that were from different walks of life, but even though we didn’t know each other well, we knew and understood what each other had been through.”
Angie enjoyed her time at Pearls & Pumps as well.
“That whole year in treatment makes you feel like less than who you were because you’ve lost your breasts, your hair is gone, your eyebrows and your lashes are gone,” she shares. “It really takes a hit to your self-esteem. So, to have our make-up professionally done and our hair professionally styled and to have them bring you wine and clothes and a huge bag of goodies, it just blew me away. It really was a magical, Cinderella, fairytale kind of moment.”
Both women had such a memorable experience that they felt compelled to keep the kindness going. In addition to agreeing to model again in the 2020 Pearls & Pumps event, both women signed up for the event’s planning committee. They also volunteered to help at this year’s Teddy Bear Luncheon, a fundraiser for the annual Bon Secours Festival of Trees.
“After having such a beautiful experience like that, you just want to be a part of something else and giving back to others. I know it sounds cliché, but that’s just the way it was,” explains Angie.
The ladies don’t have any plans to stop volunteering. In fact, Rosetta says she’s passed on the pay it forward challenge to her family members.
“I told the St. Francis Foundation director to include me in whatever functions she has coming up,” she shares. “Then, I turned around and told my sisters and other family members than they need to pitch in, too – that even when I’m dead and gone, I really want them to continue and help support Bon Secours, especially if it will help benefit the Cancer Center because of the amazing care they provided to me.”
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