National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Show Your Support

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction would like you to remember that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

During this month, we remember those who have lost their lives to breast cancer, support those who are battling it, celebrate those who have won their cancer battle, and do as much breast cancer awareness promotion as we can to raise funds for new research and treatments.

And we’ve certainly come a long way!

So far, in fact, that the American Cancer Society said we have approximately 2.8 million breast cancer survivors to date, thanks to new research, medical treatments, and detection technology.

Now that’s something to celebrate!

One of the ways we want to celebrate this month is by sharing one of our favorite awareness campaigns happening October 19—The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign.

What Is It?

Sponsored by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign is designed to make women aware of their breast reconstruction options.

While breast reconstruction following a mastectomy or lumpectomy is not for everyone, every woman should be informed of the options to which she is legally entitled.

This campaign aims both to educate women about their options and to provide women with the funds needed if they cannot afford breast reconstruction procedures.

How Can You Help?

The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign is supported by charitable donations. Donations of any size are always appreciated.

If you’d rather participate than provide monetary support, individuals and groups are encouraged to start a Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day event in your area.

There is no fee to participate, and ASPS offers a free Starter Guide to help plan the activities.

Another way to show your support is to become an affiliate.

Affiliates hosting a fundraising event receive a free Marketing and PR toolkit to assist in advertising. They also share their events with ASPS and all events are posted to the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day events page and all social media platforms.

Visit the site now to see how you can get involved.

Why We Love This Event

We believe every woman—whether she’s had cancer or not−deserves to feel confident and beautiful.

Thanks to this yearly event, women who are uninsured or under-insured have access to safe and timely breast reconstructive services.

And that means women have the opportunity to get the help they need to feel beautiful and confident after a battle with breast cancer.

Do you have a favorite Breast Cancer Awareness Month event?

Share it with us below!

Coverage and Photos from 2014 Komen Survivor Celebration

surv celebration 2014 2It’s a late update, but what an exciting time we had at the Komen Survivor Celebration!

On Sunday, April 27, 2014 at the Charleston Marriott, we were honored to present and sponsor the annual Komen Survivor Celebration.

We celebrated survivors, friends, fun, and plenty of food, and we also honored those who have lost their battle with breast cancer.

As we said, we were humbled to be asked to join this special celebration. We hope you will be able to join us next year! We met some amazing women and heard truly some inspiring stories. We also shared the sorrow of those who lost the battle and rededicated ourselves as a group to “bag” breast cancer in 2014.

photo 3If you have a survivor story, please share it in the comments, and feel free to share your photos from the event on our Facebook page!







photo 4

In Her Words: Beverly Vote, Publisher of Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine

Our staff at the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction warmly welcomes this exclusive interview with Beverly Vote, publisher of Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine

The mag­a­zine is a quar­terly, full color printed pub­li­ca­tion that goes directly to thou­sands of breast can­cer patients and sur­vivors in all 50 states as well as to sev­eral thou­sand mas­tec­tomy cen­ters, breast can­cer sup­port groups, and breast can­cer cen­ters and events. In addi­tion, the mag­a­zine is avail­able online. The mag­a­zine was the 2007 recip­i­ent of the Don Ranly Pub­lish­ers Award for Best Issue in its cat­e­gory and a con­tender for Best Arti­cle for the arti­cle “Ser­vice, Strength, and Survival.”

Tell us a little bit about your own story. How was Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine created?

I will never forget the feelings I had in 1992 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38.  I felt very alone and very afraid.  It wasn’t just my health that I was concerned about, but I was deeply worried how it was affecting my family.  Three perfect strangers reached out to me in my darkest hours and provided hope and inspiration at a time when my medical doctors had little to offer.  

The magazine was created because I learned first hand from these three women how important it is to share hope and inspiration with one another.  Twenty one years later, I continue to see the importance in sharing our healing stories. The Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine includes both valuable information from leading experts in the field of integrative medicine but also personal stories from breast cancer thrivers.

Have you noticed certain themes for articles lately? What are the big focus topics today for the magazine?

Themes in blogs and other articles seem to be more centered around empowering our mind, our body and our spirit.  The focus for the Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine continues to include this, as it has since its inception, but the magazine now also campaigns to change self-communication from, “I am a survivor,” to “I am a thriver!”  There is a thriving force in all of us that wants to be experienced, to live life with more passion and joy, and if not after a diagnosis of breast cancer, when?  


There is big buzz around the Thrivers Cruise. What is it and why is this cruise different? What can passengers expect? 

The annual Thrivers Cruise is a fun and celebratory event that brings women together from across the United States.  Every year we have a “Far Out Thriver” contest for the person traveling the farthest to attend the cruise.  For the past two years, the winner has been from Liverpool England, but we have also had women travel from Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Grand Cayman Islands, and Afghanistan. Over 55% are repeat cruisers with many women traveling with us for five consecutive years.  We also have a Pink Celebration Party every year on the cruise, and recognize the Largest Group traveling together, the Best Karaoke, Prettiest Pink T-Shirt contest, and the Funkiest Flip Flop contest.  We recently added the Encourager Award and the Thriving Caregiver award. What is great about the Thrivers Cruise is that it offers the opportunity to do things with new found friends as well as time for personal recreation or with others. For the repeat cruisers, we love seeing friends that we have made from our previous trips.

Every year, we offer a Breast Cancer Thrivers Cruise giveway.  It’s very easy to register to win! The simple qualifications to win are on the website It is a random drawing and includes an inside cabin for the winning recipient and the guest of her/his choice. 

Our travel agent for our 8th Annual Breast Cancer Thrivers Cruise 2014 is Connie Saunders, owner of Your Cruise Agents. Connie and her Crew were selected as our travel agency because Connie has a real need to be of service for this annual event…. both her mother and her best friend were diagnosed with breast cancer. Connie knows the power that fellowship and fun provides!

Connie has created an easy monthly payment plan for our group.

What is the one thing you want all women to know about breast cancer?

The most important message that I personally want to convey to anyone facing breast cancer is that we are not powerless over breast cancer and we don’t have to face breast cancer alone. One of the greatest allies we have in this healing journey is the Pink Sisterhood. Connecting with someone who understands what we are going through is life-changing. The Pink Sisterhood is one of the most dynamic forces on earth and is an important resource no matter what age or stage of the journey that we are on.

What is next for the Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine? How is the magazine spreading outside of its pages?

The Breast Cancer Wellness Ambassadors’ program is soon to launch.  This program includes an introduction to the wholistic healing principles specific for breast cancer and tools to help empower our body, mind and spirit after a diagnosis of breast cancer.  Advanced training for the BCW Transformational Leaders and Speakers will also be offered. 

Find out more about Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine and subscribe at:

Pictures of Promise: An Interview with Photographer Susan Lloyd

Thousands run for Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Affiliate's 2012 Race for the Cure

Today, the team at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction is honored to share with you an In Her Words interview with professional photographer Susan Lloyd. Susan works closely with Susan G. Komen Lowcountry as their events photographer.

 Read below for our interview with Susan.

1. Tell us your story. How were you introduced to the breast cancer community?  

I’ve had an interest in photography for most of my life, but never took it seriously until about twelve years ago.  I shot professionally for a time, took another job for a few years, then came back to photography.  I just couldn’t put the camera down!  I started shooting professionally again just a few years ago and have an entirely new appreciation for the craft of photography.  In all honesty, I can’t think of another thing I would want to pursue, career wise.  Oddly enough, though, I studied music education in college, and the first time I came face to face with breast cancer was during that time, over twenty years ago.   A hall mate who became a very close friend of mine our freshman year started college the same year her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  For our whole college career her mom battled the disease, and it had a huge impact on my friend.  Just a few years after graduation, her mother passed.  I remember thinking of all the things she was going to miss- her daughter’s wedding, grandchildren, retirement- and how it seemed she was robbed of so much by something that seemed so senseless.  In recent years, I’ve had several friends and one family member diagnosed with breast cancer.

Family Circle Tennis Center at dawn- Race for the Cure 2012

These women are all still living, and living proof that breast cancer awareness, advances in early detection, and more sophisticated treatments ARE making a difference.   But it wasn’t until this past year when I got involved with Susan G. Komen Lowcountry that I really became aware of how far reaching the breast cancer community is.  Patients, family members, concerned citizens- so many people who have been impacted by breast cancer, have come together in support of each other and to continue to move forward towards a cure for all women who are diagnosed.

2. It must be eye-opening and humbling to be a photographer for Komen. How did this happen for you?  
My work was seen online by Jordan Freeman, an employee of Trio Solutions the marketing group that works with Komen Lowcountry.  Jordan had an interest in a band I had done some work for and followed the link on their photos back to my Facebook page.  From there she became a fan of my page, continued to see the work I posted, and when the time came for Komen Lowcountry to find a new photographer to cover their events, Jordan reached out to me.  I was hugely honored and really didn’t hesitate to contribute my time.  One of the goals I had when I started to shoot professionally was to make sure that I was using my skills to help build up my community.  Working with Komen gave me the perfect opportunity to do that.
Susan Lloyd Photography specializes in portraits for women and teen girls- this is one example of a Sono Bella Portrait.
3. Why is the opportunity to photograph for Komen so important to you? Do you have any photography stories to share?   
First of all, I truly believe that to try an exist outside of community is a recipe for disaster- if you live only for yourself and invest only in yourself, you’ve missed a big part of what it means to be alive.  So for me personally, being  involved in something that is bigger than myself, that’s hugely important.  Specifically, photographing for Komen means that people can see there is hope, there are people working very hard every day to make a difference, and there are women who can say ” I made it through”.  There are so many facets of the work Komen does, it would be impossible to capture it all in photos or words.  However, people need to see- they need to know- that getting involved with Komen does make a difference.  Things are changing.  More women are being diagnosed, receiving treatment, and surviving because people are getting involved.
Photographs many times will impact us in ways that words can’t, and I’m happy that I can produce something that might possibly move someone towards action.
 The most exciting thing that I got to witness last year was the start of the Race for the Cure from about two stories off the ground!  Seeing thousands and thousands of people with smiles on their faces, optimistic and solidified in their support of Komen, it was overwhelming and truly amazing.
4. What is the one thing you want all women to know about breast cancer? 
I think the most important thing to know, outside of early detection, is that a diagnosis does not have to bring isolation with it. In fact, because of the work that Komen is doing, a diagnosis can bring you into a new community.  You will not be alone.  There are health care professionals, volunteers, survivors, a whole host of people who will walk with you and support you.   And there is so much compassion in that community- true compassion that says “We are here.  You can fight this fight.   We will fight it with you.”

5. What’s next for you in the world of Komen and photography? Upcoming events? 
I recently photographed the Grants Awards Reception which is such an awesome thing to witness.  The fundraising efforts of Komen Lowcountry throughout the year translate into financial blessing for facilities and organizations that work tirelessly to reach so many underserved women in our area.  When the grant checks are awarded, a recipient representative speaks about what it means to receive that kind of financial support.  That’s when you really understand that Komen is reaching deep into the lives of women throughout the lowcountry, many of them who are uninsured and underserved.

A Chance to Heal in Comfort

Cherie Mathews is the founder of healincomfort

Our team at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction  welcomes Cherie Mathews, founder of healincomfort, as the featured guest for In Her Words this week. Here is her story:

At the age of 40, Cherie Mathews received the same diagnosis from her doctor that one-in-eight women across America will face – “You have breast cancer”.

Through the shock and horror Cherie made the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy. She faced her enemy in this battle with the same fortitude and resilience as the millions of other brave women warriors that came before and since, after. It wasn’t until the pre-op consultation before her mastectomy that Cherie got angry. When she was told the same thing that nurses still tell their charges today… to just bring something big and loose or one of their husband’s old dress shirts to wear home and to recover in.

“I can tell you first hand that when a woman loses her breasts in her battle against breast cancer she does not ‘feel’ ok wearing her husband’s dress shirt. Mentally, it’s cruel.  Cancer is hard enough! If a sprained elbow gets a sling to heal in, why isn’t there helpful equipment to heal in after a mastectomy?”


Something had to change.  A new “standard” in medical equipment for women recovering from breast cancer surgery needed to be created. Cherie Mathews would go on to launch and to provide the very healincomfort post-op recovery kits that she herself was denied. Now, women across the globe benefit from Cherie’s vision and ambition to make certain that no woman would suffer this complication. In this decade, thousands of breast cancer survivors have been spared this unnecessary discomfort. Today, thanks to Cherie, all women have the ability to “healincomfort.”

All healincomfort Kits Include: Healincomfort kits make great gifts for loved ones.

  • Patented healincomfort Shirt – Super soft moisture management material, self-adhering  fasteners (like Velcro®), Four Internal Pockets for Drain Management
  • Advanced Design Hands Free Lanyard Straps – Hands free Independence for Showers and Maneuverability
  • Private Medical Drain Pouch – Manages Drains while wearing Regular Clothing
  • Inspirational Story “My Shadow Story” – Your personal copy to help prepare for the ‘First Look’ after your breast cancer surgery.


For more information, visit for more information.

You can also follow Cherie Mathews on Facebook.

How One Woman Took Action Against Breast Cancer

Sue Young (right) pictured with Patricia Simon.

Today, the team at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction is honored to share with you an In Her Words post written by a dear friend, breast cancer survivor and active advocate, and the latest recipient of the Charlene Daughtry Award from Komen Lowcountry, Sue Young. She is an inspiration to all women who are facing breast cancer and proves there is strength in numbers and together we can get through anything.

 Read below for our interview with Sue.

1. You are a great advocate and an active volunteer for Susan G. Komen for the Cure  Lowcountry. Tell us what you’ve been doing to support women who are experiencing breast cancer or know of someone who is?

I’m a huge advocate of finding out everything you can about your options once you are told you have cancer.  Most people, me included, don’t really think about it until it happens to you or someone you care about.  I started volunteering with Komen after being diagnosed and reading Nancy Brinker’s book, “Winning the Race – Taking Charge of Breast Cancer”.  I was inspired to be a part of their story, their work.  Because of my diagnosis and participation, I have met and become friends with a number of people spanning all the facets of cancer.  I met doctors, nurses, volunteers, film directors, dragon boaters, comedians, politicians, fund-raisers, hospital and other medical administrators, survivors and co-survivors, and sadly, people that eventually would lose their battle.  Having met so many new and diverse people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, when someone comes to me with questions about cancer, I can tell them what I’ve learned or connect them with people who know much more than that.  I may not be able to answer every question, but I know someone who knows.  The more you know about what you’ll deal with, the better equipped you are to make it down that “pink ribbon” road.  It’s a journey to say the least, and it is so much easier when you don’t have to take the trip alone.    I’ve always had a volunteer spirit, it’s nice to be there when someone needs you.  My mother taught us by example; she always responded when a “need” was presented.  From giving the postman a mayonnaise jar of iced water every day to raising funds to air-condition our elementary school, Mama took action.  She’s 81 and still going strong!

2. You are truly an inspiration to women who have been affected by breast cancer! Tell us how you managed to stay positive and embody the selflessness volunteer spirit while undergoing breast cancer treatment. What inspired you to keep moving forward? 

I was able to stay positive through my cancer treatments in three ways:

1.) I had an amazing support group.  My husband, Tom, was loving, caring, and understanding.  He was committed to me and my well-being through it all.  My family and friends went the extra mile, supporting my decisions, helping with the special things, and keeping the routine things in order.

2.) I had a super medical team.  Everyone, from the doctors to their staff was on their “A-game.”  They were educated, they were professional, they were caring, they were patient, they had a plan and they guided me through every step, every phase.  I felt like I was their only patient, but I knew they were being everything they were to me to others every day.

3.) Each time I started to sink into a depression, God sent someone into my life that seemed to have a bigger battle than I did.  I was reminded on more than a few occasions that I was not alone and that I had the tools to take the next step.  There was always someone that didn’t have the support group, didn’t have the medical team, didn’t get the positive answers that I got.

3. You are the 2012 recipient of the Charlene Daughtry Award from Komen Lowcountry. Tell me a little about this award and what it means to you personally.

I saw the first recipient receive the award at my first Komen Survivor Celebration in October, 2005.  I’d never met Charlene and she had already lost her battle with cancer.  I don’t know that I remember who got it the first couple of years.  It didn’t really became personal to me until  it was awarded to Lucy Spears.  I’d worked with her on a couple of Komen projects.  She was a tremendous volunteer with unending energy and drive – still is.  Bonnie Hancock received it the next year; I served on a committee with her for several years.  Again, selflessness embodied.  Gene Glave received the award last year . . . her last Survivor Celebration.  The Komen Board chose each of these women because they carry on Charlene Daughtry’s dream, her enthusiasm, her courage.  Me?  Part of this group?  I fear I don’t measure up, but I am honored, and I am humbled to be included.  Charlene, the recipients I know, and myself – our common threads?  Breast cancer, a desire to share our stories, our experience, and our courage with others.  Just like the candle-lighting ceremony at each Survivor Celebration, it’s about igniting your own light and passing it on to others.

4. What is the one thing you want all women to know about breast cancer?

Look for it!  Catch it early!  Deal with it!  Do not ignore it!  Know you are not alone.  There’s help every step of the way.

5. You have achieved so much and given back since being diagnosed with cancer. What is next for you in life? 

We’re still a few years from retirement, but that’s the next big thing.  Tom and I want to travel.  We’ve been to some wonderful places already: Jamaica, Hawaii, Barbados. We want to take some longer trips to see more of America up-close.  Of course, we’ll be planning those around small trips to Rock Hill to see my sister’s growing family.  Her third grandchild is due in March.  I want to make sure Kaylee (2-1/2), Wyatt (3 months) and G-baby #3 know they have great-grandparents and a great-aunt and great-uncle in Charleston.  I’m sure I’ll still find time for Komen.  Wouldn’t it be nice if Kaylee didn’t have to worry about breast cancer?


The 2012 Charleston Dragon Boat Festival

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction were thrilled to sponsor the DBC survivor team Paddles n’ Pearls at this year’s fifth annual Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, May 5th. This year’s event raised a record breaking $108,000 dollars to nurture the warrior spirit of those fighting cancer. This years goal was $75,000 and to it say it was surpassed is an understatement!

46 teams made up of 20 people each, on colorful boats, competed in a 250 meter race across the Ashley River.   Some of the team members partaking in the race are supporting the cause, other having previously battled cancer, while some are even currently undergoing treatment.  The spirit of this event is to unleash your inner warrior. The fight against cancer should not be something a cancer warrior fights alone, however  it should be fought with a team—made up of loved ones supporting you and helping you navigate along the way.

The crowd ranges from college students to those in their 80’s and 90’s and a great time is had by all. This year the weather was perfect and we couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon. We can already say that we are looking forward to next year and hope to see you there!

Check out our Facebook page to see all the fun our team had while sponsoring this year’s event!







Fabulous Shopping for a Fabulous Cause: The Second Warriors Wear Pink Event

Image to the left taken from

Support a great cause by coming out to the 2nd Warriors Wear Pink MoBo event, happening Thursday, April 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event takes place at the Tanner Hall Amenities Center in Tanner Hall Plantation and features fabulous guests including the Charleston Style Concierge, Lee Heyward; Elizabeth Quinton of EQMake Up; Sumner Little of Stella & Dot Jewelry; and the Rosita Jones Studio.

This is going to be an amazing night full of fun, shopping, and socializing! Those who attend the event will be helping to support local breast cancer survivors and those affected by breast cancer. Attendees can shop some great deals for an exceptional cause while listening to great music, socializing with family and friends, and enjoying a glass of wine and snacks.

Some of the items being sold at this event will include high-end, gently used clothing and fashionable accessories at great deals. Part of the proceeds will be given to locals affected by breast cancer, as well as the Warriors Wear Pink Foundation. Lee Heyward, the Charleston Style Concierge, will offer style expert assistance to shoppers looking to get some insight on wardrobe creations and pairings.

Don’t miss out on this great event to help support our brave local survivors and give to a wonderful cause!

For additional questions about the event, contact Leslie Crawford Moore at 843.708.1918.