April Salvant is one of our calendar models for the upcoming 2017 calendar, and she also writes a personal blog called "The Salvant Seven." Her recent post was about her experience becoming a part of BB! and deciding to be a calendar girl - yay! - and she agreed to let us share that blog post here. Enjoy! Visit her blog at salvant7.blogspot.com.
"Beyond Boobs!" by April Salvant
My friend Beth is a breast cancer warrior and survivor. She's amazing.
Beth and I met over 10 years ago in a women's Bible study group but we had lost touch over the years. When I was in Haiti some mutual friends shared the news about Beth and I prayed for her but never contacted her. Honestly, I didn't know what to say. Then last fall when we resettled in our old neighborhood, a mutual friend invited Beth and I along for lunch so that we could reconnect. She shared her story with me and I drew so much strength from her. We cried, laughed, and I asked her a thousand questions. We have the same type of cancer (triple positive) but hers had been much worse- she had symptoms a year prior but it was dismissed based on her age- therefore, it had spread by the time she was diagnosed. She is way more of a bad-ass than I am.
Beth invited me to a support group called Beyond Boobs and gave me a calendar that they make every year. BB is a support and health non-profit for women under 50 who are diagnosed with breast cancer. The mission is to bring women who are going through it together for support and to also educate the public with breast healthcare information.
I am the first to tell you that I am not the kind of person who would go to a support group. It's not my jam. But I liked the cheeky name of this group and I like Beth so I decided to go to a meeting with her. I felt really awkward at first in the group of strangers. However, the strangers quickly became sisters. Not only that but I gained some information there that actually benefited my health. I had not had any lymphedema after surgery but I did have a little swelling that week in my elbow. The ladies were talking about how important it was to wear a compression sleeve while flying- something that I had never considered. I went home and ordered a sleeve for my Haiti trip. When I got to Haiti my ankles were swollen but thankfully my arm was fine!
One day Beth texted me and told me that I should apply to be a calendar girl in the Beyond Boobs calendar for next year. She was going to be a photographer and had no say in the selection but thought it would be cool if I could do it. I was like sure, why not. I never thought I would actually be selected. And then a few weeks ago on my way to Haiti I found out that I had been chosen.
That's right, I am a calendar girl.
In all honesty, I can't think of a more undesirable time in my life to be photographed, but I am all about the awareness...cancer is real and it happened to me. Beth was chosen to be my photographer! How exciting is that?! And no worries, I will be dressed. I can't wait to see what Beth and I come up with for our spread.
I am really excited to be a part of this project. This is the 10th anniversary edition. Over 82% of the 10,000 copies are donated to clinics and health facilities. The information in these calendars could save someones life through prevention or early detection.
Here's the deal though- I need to raise some money for this fabulous organization so these calendars can be produced. I need sponsors! Here is a FORM that you can print, fill out, and send in as an individual or business or group. Lots of different levels of sponsorship. Or you can donate through their website. Please let me know if you donate so that I can personally thank you. Together we can make a difference in many lives by spreading life-saving information, inspiring stories and photographs.