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Angelina Jolie shares her journey with BRCA 1 & BRCA 2. Find out what it means & why it matters

24 Mar

BRCA image

Angelina Jolie courageously used her healthcare journey to raise awareness about the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes and their role in assessing the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. She has a profound history of cancer in her family. She placed BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 into the broader public lexicon and discussion.

But what are they and why do they matter?

Get the facts about BRCA 1 and BRCA 2

More breast cancer awareness information from a popular post at

BREAKING NEWS: Valarie Pettiford to STAR in Life in the Cancer Lane!

4 Sep

September 4, 2014


Credit: Hareth Tayem

Credit: Hareth Tayem

The Pinkwellchick Foundation, Inc. Board is excited and honored to announce that award-winning triple-threat Valarie Pettiford has joined the cast and will star in this year’s fundraiser production of “Life in the Cancer Lane” by the late Barbra Watson-Riley.

“I am beyond thrilled to be working with Valarie again,” said Carla Banks Waddles, who will be directing the play along with Crystal Houston.  Waddles worked with Pettiford as a writer on the UPN sitcom “Half & Half.”   “She brings so much talent and elegance to everything she does.  She dances, she sings, she’s a powerhouse. This audience is in for a real treat!”

The matinee and evening performances will take place at The Herberger Theater Center-Stage West on October 18, 2014 (2:00 pm and 7:30 pm). The Herberger Theater Center is a Diamond sponsor of the production and is joined by a host of corporate and individual sponsors, including our Platinum Sponsors: the Watson Family and Leslie M. Gray.

Ticket sales are already moving rapidly and both performances are expected to sell out quickly, as they did last year. Click here to purchase “Life in the Cancer Lane” tickets today or to become a sponsor (all packages include tickets).

stage west at the herberger theater

Stage West-Herberger

About Valarie Pettiford  Continue reading

“Questions to Ask the Doctor About Breast Cancer”

4 Sep


“People often overlook health care providers as an important source of social support. From patient navigators and social workers, to surgeons and oncology nurses, health care providers can offer a wealth of information, hope and advice.

These sources are often left untapped due to problems with patient-provider communication. People may feel too embarrassed or rushed to ask questions, or they simply may not know which questions to ask. And, sometimes, providers may seem too busy to help. Fortunately, there are resources to help you improve communication with your health care team.”

This “Talking with Your Doctor” fact sheet outlines a series of steps to help you communicate more effectively with your providers.

Guest post by Tonya @WisdomWhispers



Self determination

27 Mar

Pink Ink


Heart Walk 2013 finish line

Heart Walk 2013 finish line

Heart Month has come and gone! Did it impact you in any way?  What did YOU do to challenge yourself or others to be heart healthy?  It was a tough month, but I made it!

My goal, as motivated by Star Jones, was to do 28 days of fitness!  I mapped out my plan, got a calendar, some weights, saw a trainer and got to work.  It was harder than I expected!  Who wants to exercise for 28 days straight?  Not me!  But I was determined to try.  If Stuart Scott could work out right after chemo, I could at least try!  It got a little complicated when I started getting transfusions…often!  But despite a February of 6 transfusions, and 3 chemo treatments, I finished!

I completed 24 of 28 days of exercise!

It may not seem like a lot, but it required commitment and determination.  There were days that I lifted light weights before being hooked up to a machine.  Other days when I rolled out of bed, walked, then, rolled right back into bed!

Why did I do it?

  • Most times, I felt better after exercising.  Isn’t that what all the doctors tell you will happen?
  • I have metastasized cancer in my lungs.  I need to increase my “lung strength” through exercise.
  • I wanted to set a good example for my daughter, and prove to myself that I could do it.
  • Heart disease KILLS!

The best thing to come out of this, is that I continue to exercise!  However,  I have scaled back my ambition.  I now work toward 5 days a week of exercise. That is still tough!  But the doctors say that is a good goal and possible to maintain.

Just because Heart Month is officially over, doesn’t mean you should go back to old habits!  The 1st part of this month had me in the hospital 3x in 1 week getting transfusions. I was worn out! Over it!  But, this weekend I participated in the local Heart Walk! Determination!  It was great to see FAMILIES walking together. My daughter is in her 3rd week of trying to be a vegetarian! A 10 year old who is willing, albeit begrudgingly, to try new veggies! I couldn’t be happier!

What else can you do?

If you are in the Phoenix area, join me and other Go Red Ambassadors at the 2013 Red Dress Cocktail Party on April 3, 2013.  Check out  for more details.

Not in Arizona? No problem! Contact your local American Heart Association and help us continue to educate others about heart disease.

Or, just eat right, and work out! You can do it!

Remember, it’s an exercise in…SELF determination!

Healthy Living…Cheers!

15 Feb

Pink Ink…

Editor’s note.  This was a post I originally planned for Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, I spent the day in the hospital.  But I am back! Happy belated Valentine’s Day!


So we’ve moved from New Year’s resolutions to Valentine’s Day!  Seems like yesterday we kicked off Heart Month!   But here we are ½ way through the February!  What have you done this month?  Worked out? Gone to a Go Red party? Cut down on sodium?  I hope you have done something!  I am half way through my 28 days of exercise, following the lead of Star Jones. (Twitter tag #hearthealth30) Let me tell you, it is hard!  But I am doing it, and have even engaged my Mini-me.

It’s Valentine’s Day.  But instead of talking about the love of others, I wanted to share some stories of inspiration.  People who decided to love themselves and take heart action!

First I toast Linda, my sorority sister from college! Last year she lost one of her best friends to a heart attack.  The kicker? They were on the phone when it happened.  The phone went silent, and Linda thought she was having a standard “can you hear me now?” moment.  Unfortunately, they found her friend the next day at work, with the phone still in her hand.  The loss of a friend was just the kick in the pants Linda needed.  She has become focused not only on her health, but also on educating others about heart health.  Last weekend she held her 1st Go Red brunch! She spoke about the warning signs and risk factors for stroke and heart attack, and offered blood pressure checks.  Ladies munched on heart healthy food like Greek yogurt and baked oatmeal!  Linda hired a coach to hold her accountable for eating and exercising, and has committed to advocating for women’s health, once a quarter! Great job my friend!

I’ve introduced you to Maria before!  She’s my heart health guru.  But that doesn’t mean it comes easy for her.  Because of family history, she must be vigilant with her health.  So she and her mini me now have a trainer, and they love it!  What started as physical therapy for Maria’s shoulder has turned into weight training.  She has even taking a liking to boxing!  It gets her blood flowing!  As part of her heart month challenge, Maria got her family to change their diet.  Maria is a pescatarian, while her Mini-me and hubby have gone all the way vegan! An 11 year old who is excited to go Vegan!  So far so good!  We’ll get an update from her at the end of the month. I love that she is giving her daughter the GIFT of a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, I lift a chocolate strawberry to…my hubby!  He has a family history of high blood pressure, and has been on meds for about 10 years.  He’s an active guy, but has a high stress job…and a wife who has cancer!  So it’s been a challenge to get his pressure under control.  But Life in the Cancer Lane has shown him that we are not promised health.  So he decided to take it to the next level.  B decided to go vegan in November after watching “Forks over Knives”, at the suggestion of his doctor.  This is a man who LOVED meat!  LOVES to cook.  But he was focused and determined. Four months later, and his blood pressure has improved so much that his doctor is considering taking him off meds in the next few months! As a side bonus, he has also lost 15 pounds.  Another example of someone taking charge of his or her heart health.

There are countless other stories of people who have taken control of their health and learned to love themselves in a different way.  As I check off days on my heart health fitness calendar, I remind myself that with each exercise I am hopefully giving myself the gift of health.  What’s a better gift than health to receive on Valentine’s Day?

So today, I celebrate the love of…healthy living!




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