Tonia Gardinier’s cancer was discovered during her very first mammogram. She was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer on March 9, 2012, the same day as her mom’s birthday.
Tonia lives in Coinjock, North Carolina, with her fiancé of 19 years, Paul. They have four children: Amanda and Alicia, 25; Dillon, 23; and Korbin, 20. They also have three dogs: a beagle named Diamond, a Pomeranian named Bella, and a pit bull/lab mix named Buddy.
In her professional life Tonia wears many hats. She works as a baker at Coinjock Marina and Restaurant, cleans private homes, helps her best friend with her pool and spa business on the weekends in the Outer Banks, and works in a boathouse of a marina on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Tonia was selected as one of the models for A Calendar to Live By 2016. Recently she took a break from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about herself and her experiences as a calendar model.
How did you find out about Beyond Boobs!?
A friend and a Boostier! told me about BB! I was afraid to go to a meeting by myself, so she went with me. Now I couldn’t imagine my life without Beyond Boobs!
What is your favorite date-night activity?
Hmm . . . so many. I like getting some food and watching the sun set.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a photographer or have a catering business.
Who was your teenage celebrity heartthrob? How did you show your undying devotion?
Scott Baio, LOL. I had posters from Teen Beat magazine.
What are your plans for the summer?
This is my busy season, so work, work, work. I will also try to enjoy my pool and spending time with my grandson as often as possible.
What is the best advice you have received about living beyond breast cancer?
It’s OK to worry, but don’t let it consume you.
What was the most impactful moment of your calendar model photo shoot?
The symbolism of my photo, that’s all I can say. Those who know me will understand when they see the photo.