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Pink Wings 4 Breast Cancer

Courtney Zinszer's Breast Cancer Awareness Events & Products Blog
Breast Cancer Ribbon

Archive for January, 2006

Pink Wings Story

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Hi,
My story starts 9 years ago.  I was 33 years old and a single mother. My daughter Sedona was only 3 years old.  Her dad and I had separated when I was pregnant and the divorce was final shortly after Sedona was born.  I was going to school to get my Special Ed. Teaching credential, and had just taken a full time position as a Special Day class teacher at an elementary school in Pacific Palisades, California.
I felt healthy, was at an ideal weight and had hair down to my waist.  I was not a smoker and rarely drank. I ate a healthy diet…except for an occasional bowl of Lucky Charms when my sisters and I got together.  I worked out regularly at the gym. I enjoyed sports: water and snow skiing, horseback riding, jogging, biking, rollerblading, and hiking.
I had found a small lump in my right breast months earlier. I waited for a month, then went to the doctor.  He sent me for a mammogram in July.  The mammogram results were negative for cancer.  In September I went back to the doctors.  I told him that the lump seemed to be getting bigger. He sent me for an ultra-sound.  Again the results were negative, but he sent me to a surgeon for a consultation just to be on the safe side.  I went to the surgeon’s office determined to finish up with these appointments as I was so busy with school and my new teaching job.  I just didn’t have time for these doctor appointments.  What an annoyance they were becoming.  I also didn’t like having to spend $5 and $6 on parking and $10 on the co-payments my insurance required me to pay.  Little did I know that this was only the beginning of a long, long journey I was about to begin.
At the surgeon’s office I requested the biopsy that day.  For some reason, I felt that I just could not live with this lump in my breast.  The woman at the front desk said that she didn’t know if the surgeon would be able to perform a biopsy, as my appointment was just a consultation.  I insisted, and then was apprehensive to find out that the surgeon had a cancelled appointment and would be able to fit in a biopsy that afternoon.
Panic hit!!! “Do I really want to do this?’  I was all alone for my appointment. No one in my family knew anything about this.  I hadn’t mentioned the lump to anyone.  Breast Cancer did not run in my family, so what was the point?  It was nothing right? Negative for cancer…that is what the mammogram and ultrasound reports had said.
After making a call to my girlfriend’s husband (he is a breast surgeon), I decided to go ahead with the biopsy.  It was not painful, and I remember the surgeon showing the small lump to me, saying that it did not look malignant.  I drove myself home with some gauze over the biopsy area, still telling no one in my family what was going on.
The following week…it was a Tuesday actually, I got a call in my classroom.  It was the receptionist at the surgeon’s office.  She told me that I could not come into the doctor’s office for my follow-up appointment that afternoon by myself.  I thought this was absurd, as I had gone in for the biopsy surgery alone and had been allowed to drive myself home.
The woman on the other end of the phone said, “I have strict orders from the doctor.  You are not allowed to come in alone!”
I have seen enough movies to know what this means.  I didn’t need anyone
to tell me now.   I already knew what the doctor was going to say that
afternoon…I had the unthinkable…the “C” word!  I had cancer!!

That’s all I have written for now.
Thanks,
Courtney

2005: A fantastic year for Pink Wings

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Well Pink Wings will be celebrating 5 years on the internet this October, and we are up and running as strong as ever. We now ship to customers all over the world, including: all of the United States and Puerto Rico, Australia, England, Ireland, Scottland and Germany.

2007 has brought MANY new products. We have over 70 original custom Cloisonne Pink Ribbon pins.  These now include; animals, sports, our popular dated pink ribbon walk pins, annual bust pins, city/state pink ribbon walk pins, and OUR version of the pink ribbon. With so many new pins, people often ask us which is the most popular. And the answer is….the oh so popular Martini Pink Ribbon pin.  This pin continues to out sell every other pink ribbon pin we have, with the Paisley Pink Ribbon pin as a close runner up.

Pink Wings is turning some of our most popular designs into keychains, t-shirts, tattoos and hats. This year- we took our 4 original pink ribbon pins and put them together to make our new “Ribbons 4 A Cure” logo.  This logo now comes on onesies, youth t-shirts, adult t-shirts, and our Hoodie sweatshirt.  This Hoodie is selling so quickly, we are having a difficult time keeping it in stock!!

A book called “Foot Soldiers- Stories of the Breast Cancer 3-Day” came out last year and the Los Angeles chapter is my story. I now carry this book on my website. The auther, Dr. Deborah Douglas, is a breast cancer survivor who lives in Texas. Deborah walked in all of the 3-Day walks in 2004. Way to go Deborah!!

One of our Pink Wings customers is an amazing artist in Denver, Colorado.
I was excited when Evette contacted me to tell me that 2 of the pins we made for her are now in the gift shop at the Denver Museum! Way to go Evette!!! You can view her pins in the Pink Wings Store in the “Custom Pin” section. They are “Celebration” and “Embrace”. We just sent Evette her latest pin titled “Hope” for the Day of Caring event in Denver next month.

Pink Wings continues to participate in events almost monthly through out the year…and sometimes weekly.  We start our year with a Pink Wings booth at the fabulous Young Survivor Conference. Last year’s event was in Denver, Colorado.  This year was the 7th Annual conference and it was held in Arlington, Virginia.  It is such a great event to rekindle friendships, meet new people and learn about the latest info for young survivors. Dikla and her Los Angeles group were all there. Courtney- one of the youngest survivors I have met (20 years old) was at the conference again this year, and I met so many new young survivors. Hello to Christy and her mom…2 of the wilder women I met at the conference this year. Fellow young survivors (and my roommates for this event) Tiffany G. and Debra D. helped me out at the booth in Arlington.  Thanks ladies- I couldn’t have done it without your help!

From Arlington- I flew straight to Las Vegas for another conference, The National Consortium of Breast Centers. This was my first year at this event and I met a lot of new ladies from all over the country. This was another great conference for Pink Wings. Victoria Tashman- founder of Pink-Link.org introduced me to this event. Thanks Vicki!

In March, I drove back to Los Angeles with my family for our Spring Break.
By the end of the week- I needed a vacation from my vacation. First of all-it is almost a 20 hour drive and I am in a Yukon XL with my husband, 3 young daughters and my baby boy.

I started the week with a Boutique at The Ezralow Group in Calabasas to help their team raise money for the Revlon Run/ Walk.  We love the Ezralow ladies and enjoy getting together to do events with them. The Ezralow team looks great all decked out in pink ribbon jewelry and apparel supplied by Pink Wings. Thanks Judy, Cindi, Carmen and Georgia. Two of the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer 8 city walkers came out to see me. Thanks Martha and Renae for your support!

2 days later- we were in Compton at 6:30 AM for another event at the Southern California Gas Company. This was our 2nd boutique with the So.
Cal. Gas Company and we are well received there. We look forward to going back again next year. Thanks Ana and Angie for another successful event.

Later that day we headed to Universal for another event and then to Anaheim at 7AM the next morning for our last event.

On the days in between my events- I drove from one doctor appt. to the next. I have kept all of my doctors in L.A.  I did my mammogram, bone density test, oncology appt. and blood work. I am a 10 year survivor and I want to keep it that way- so I deligently go to my appts. every 6 months or every year!  Please make sure to make your yearly mammogram appointment!! Early detection saves lives!!

So now it is April and I leave for the ONS conference in Las Vegas next week. In May, I head out to Los Angeles again.  Then on to St. Louis, Missouri for the Essentially Women Focus On the Future conference and back to Los Angeles again for the Revlon Run/Walk for Women.

Sheryl Crow will be the host of the Revlon Walk this year. I have been wanting to meet Sheryl for years as it was her songs that got me through all of my surgeries related to breast cancer. Every time that I went in for a surgery I took my walkman in with me. Yes- this was in the days before the IPOD. The song that I listened to as I went under for every surgery was “All I Wanna Do” by Sheryl Crow.

May 18th and 19th, I will have a booth at the 2nd Annual FORCE conference in Tampa Bay, Florida. This is a great conference for anyone with the
BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.  There is no other conference out there like this.

In July I will be walking my 2nd Avon Walk for Breast Cancer 40-mile walk in San Francisco. My first walk was in L.A. This year I have decided to join the Avon Mini Walks Team. This fantastic group of walkers is raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research and education. Great job Renae!

In August, I will be walking in my 9th Breast Cancer 3-Day 60-mile Walk for Breast Cancer. I am walking in Chicago this year. Last year I walked in Michigan. I am hoping that my sister will join me. She helped me with a garage sale to raise money for my walk and we raised nearly $1,000 for breast cancer! Thanks Erin!!

If you would like to donate to one of my upcoming walks- please go to the Donate link on this website and it will take you to my donation pages for both the Avon Walk and the Breast Cancer 3-Day. Any amount is greatly appreciated!

On September 23rd, my family and I will be participating in the Portland “Race For the Cure” for the 2nd year in a row. Last year we had a team of
14 family members at this event. We had a blast!!  Pink Wings will also have a booth at the Health Expo in Portland on the days before the walk.

On September 29, Pink Wings will be in Tampa Bay, Florida at the FACTORS Breast Cancer Conference for the 2nd year in a row.

On October 6th, Pink Wings will be a part of “Walk for the Cause”. This is a 3.5-mile walk for breast cancer sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Albany (Oregon). As a member of the Soroptimist International of Albany I get to help with the planning of this event.
Last year, Jennifer Lyon was the grand marshal of the event. She was one of the contestants of the television show “Survivor: Palau”. Jennifer is a young breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed at the age of 33. I am excited to see who will be the Grand Marshal of the event this year.

On Oct 16th, I will be going to Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Conference. This will be my 3rd year at this event.  I am so impressed by all that the PA Breast Cancer Coalition is doing for Breast Cancer. This conference is always a good one.

In November, I will be traveling to Arizona and San Diego for the 3-Day Walks. I love to cheer on the walkers, and I love to see them in Pink Wings gear! Over the years I have met so many of the walkers who come back and participate in the events year after year. There are many 3-Day addicts out there….and I am one of them. I can’t imagine life without the 3-Day and Avon Walks!

Well-that will be my year!

If you would like to learn more about any of these events, please go to the Links page or Upcoming Events page on my website. Most of these events have web sites that I am linked up to.

Have a great year and thank you for joining Pink Wings in raising awareness and money for Breast Cancer!

If you know of a gift store or a breast cancer center that you would like to see carry Pink Wings product, please have them check out the Pink Wings site or email me with their name and number.

If you know of an upcoming event that you would like to see a Pink Wings booth at, please contact me at courtney@pinkwings.com

If you need a speaker at an upcoming event- feel free to contact me.

Courtney Zinszer
2-time survivor
Owner and Founder
Pinkwings.com

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