On one of the warmest February days in Wisconsin at the age of 51, Holly found out she had breast cancer. As Holly describes the day: “It was 50 degrees outside, it was a beautiful day, one of those unseasonably warm winter days that reminds you that spring will be coming soon, giving a sense of hope and rejuvenation after a snowy winter. And although I could feel spring’s birth approaching, I felt like I was quickly dying. Beginning that day, I was a cancer patient.”
She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in February 2004. She had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation and is currently taking Arimidex. She feels very blessed to say she is now five years cancer free.
As Holly so eloquently tells her story, “I began my battle against breast cancer with a journal each and every day, writing so that I would not miss a thought or feeling that I had. I ended up with more than 300 pages. I knew I wanted to help others after, and I wanted to be able to reference it while listening to another woman discuss her fears of beginning chemo, losing her hair or questioning how she would cope.”
Holly is now a mentor for ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis), which is Melodie Wilson’s organization. The e-mail she received regarding the Rare Chair Affair really caught her attention, especially the part that read, “No artistic talent required.” She thought to herself, “What could be more rewarding and fun than gathering weekly with old and new friends as they work together, supporting each other’s efforts to create works of art?” And did she feel she got all of that? In Holly’s words, “through the time spent creating the chairs, we took the opportunity to celebrate life, with all of it’s joys and sorrows, by re-telling the stories of our struggles and triumphs with cancer while we reflected and honored others close to us who were not as fortunate.”
She would like to take this opportunity to thank the doctors and all of the women and men who bravely went through this disease before me, where so much was learned and tried to help make my diagnosis an even more positive one.
Holly would also like to thank, “my husband, Curtis, of 38 years who did everything it took to bring me back to health and for doing such a wonderful job helping me with my chair. My daughter, Shannon, who made me feel pretty on my ugliest days and to my son, Christopher, whose notes of faith and encouragement took me from my beginning to the end, giving me strength and hope. God has richly blessed me by giving me my family, hope during the toughest times, and faith when I desperately needed it. Cancer has changed my life . . . for the better.”
Holly’s Chair: Willie’s Wild Ride – signed by “Willie G” himself