In the US, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. On June 9th, 2022, I became one of them.
Hi I'm Maria. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am launching SHECANcer, to show fellow women with cancer and going through chemo you CAN go outside, and you CAN continue to do what you love. In my case, that is being free, enjoying nature, and feeling sun on my skin (but safely). With chemical-free UPF50 sun protection, you can enjoy your time outside again and protect your delicate skin.
Here is how my journey began, and the evolution of SHECANcer.org...
What started out as what I thought was a 6 month allergy and undiagnosed case of dermatitis on my breasts, turned into a lump. Then there was a mammogram, and eventually a Triple Negative breast cancer diagnosis. What does one do the minute they hear the "c" word? They hop on Dr Google to find answers.
Boy was that a bad idea... I quickly realized my specific type of breast cancer was aggressive and rare, so that was all I needed to know and decided I would rely on my team and my positive attitude to figure the rest out. No matter what Google was saying, I wasn't going to fall into the statistics of this cancer.
I then joined a few Facebook groups someone recommended, and I immediately found a group of BEAUTIFUL and BRAVE women, but also a really dark place that didn't seem to have much light. (I get it, I have had moments of darkness in my journey, but at that moment I desperately needed the light.) I needed the success stories. I needed the small wins. I needed some sort of hope this was going to be ok...
Thankfully in a sea of darkness, I found 2 women casting a light my way. I followed their posts of cold capping, stories showing them in makeup and heels, and clinged to their inspiring messages. It was these women who helped me decide I wanted to be that light to someone else, and that this community of women can always use more positivity.
I leaned in to the FAITH and HOPE messages, but those words didn't feel like "me".
It wasn't until my first meeting with my oncologist I found the motivational phrase that resonates with me and now is my morning mantra and the inspiration for this organization. My doctor went over what to expect with treatment including side effects of chemotherapy, but one sentence stood out the most, "You CAN'T go in the sun while on chemo."
What? I live in Florida. I spend EVERY day outside walking my dogs, at either the beach or pool, at the baseball field, or in my yard. THIS is what brings me joy!
But I wasn't hearing the doctor, and cancer wasn't going to steal my joy. I turned and looked at my partner and back at the doctor and said "YES I CAN, we own a sun protective wear company and I know how to practice safe sun!"
This was the first of many cancer scenarios I defied, and ultimately launched the phrase "SHE CAN" which then evolved into SHECANcer.org
My partner and I have been educating our community on the importance of sun protection for over 2 years now, and found a high quality, chemical-free fabric that blocks 97% of harmful UV rays, and protects delicate skin without the grease and hassle of reapplying sunblock (not to mention a list of ingredients I really don't want to add to my body while battling cancer).
And what's crazy is when I searched on my Facebook groups for others seeking sun protection, no one was talking about UPF clothing! So there is definitely a need for this, and why not decorate it with the most powerful message a woman battling cancer can repeat... SHECAN.
So here we are today. SHECANcer.org was created to offer quality, chemical-free sun protective clothing to women with cancer, and her supporters. 10% of all sales are then donated back to provide these same shirts to cancer patients in need, who may not be able to afford the same quality protection.