This week Thirsty Girl is honoring wines that give back. Cleavage Creek, founded by Budge Brown after losing his wife to breast cancer, donates 10% of their gross wine sales to breast cancer research. In addition, they adorn their bottles with breast cancer survivors. All of which are Thirsty Girls in our mind, but one in particular, Theresa Larson, we have the honor of sharing with you this week for our Thursday Thirsty Girl.
Hearing the words “you have cancer,” robbed Theresa of any sense of stability and security she had known, it felt like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. The revelation arrived just a few months before her 50th birthday and two weeks before her son’s wedding. The bad news continued to arrive in waves: Metastatic breast cancer, stage II, grade 3. She was also Her2Neu positive, ER/PR negative. The cancer had reached her lymph nodes. It was the type of cancer that was known to have a high rate of recurrence, but that didn’t stop Theresa from seeing the positive.
She was bolstered by the support of her family, friends, and co-workers. Strangers who learned of her medical plight came to her aid as well. “People in my life circled around me and lifted me up when I thought I could no longer stand on my own,”says Theresa. “Other survivors rushed to my side, eager to encourage me. I wrapped myself in their stories, their words. Their compassion and support strengthened me.”
It was at one visit to her chemotherapy clinic that she came to grips with her situation and possible fate as she watched a much more ill woman than herself.
“I felt that I might be seeing her last days on this earth. I realized that while I had been dealt a rough hand, and that my cancer might take my life, I had to abandon my self pity and fear. I could not live the rest of my life with fear in the driver’s seat. I realized that I had two choices: I could stay down in that hole with fear, or I could climb out of it. I made the choice to climb out. The woman I watched was an inspiration to me and she never knew it. In some ways, she gave me a part of my life back.”
Theresa’s positive attitude motivated and guided her and instead of wallowing, she decided to write about her experiences with breast cancer. The Lodi News-Sentinel newspaper in California published her chronicles, “My Fight for Life.” It has been recognized by the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association and the National Newspaper Association. Response was so overwhelming that they reprinted it in booklet form. The Soroptimist International of Lodi, California recently selected Theresa Larson as a recipient of The Making a Difference for Women Award. This award acknowledges women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls through their personal or professional activities.
Please feel free to email Theresa at firstname.lastname@example.org or request a booklet of her chronicles. She is in true spirit a fighter, a survivor, and a Thirsty Girl.