Each October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and for the past few years SAS has been partnering up with charities to raise support and awareness for this disease. In 2016, SAS is partnering with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, an organization that provides educational, emotional and financial support to those affected by Breast Cancer. In a few weeks, we will unveil ways you can help support LBBC with SAS. First, here's an example of the impact LBBC can have in the words of one young woman, who graciously shared her story with SAS.

"Hello, I’m Christina. At age 31 here’s what I thought my life would look like:

  • The man of my dreams would pop up from thin air and sweep me off my feet (bonus points if he was on a white horse).
  • I’d have an incredible fast-paced career that would take me around the world (first class, of course).
  • I’d live in an amazing house with a closet full of designer clothes and incredible shoes (you can never have too many shoes).
"I struggled with not knowing why this happened to me. What terrible thing did I do that made me deserve getting cancer? Did my love of all things chocolate cause the cancer? All I knew for certain is that I wanted it gone immediately."

A girl can dream right? Today I am 35 and here’s what my life has looked like over the past four years:

In July of 2013, a few months before my 32nd birthday, I was diagnosed with Stage IV inflammatory breast cancer, something I’d never heard of before. Young women don’t get breast cancer! Yet, there I was hearing those words from a surgeon I never met who told me I needed to start chemotherapy within a week. I was devastated and had never been so scared. I quickly went to the Internet to learn more about my subtype of breast cancer. Bad idea. The statistics I found about inflammatory breast cancer were out-of-date and abysmal. I thought I would be dead by the end of the year.

I struggled with not knowing why this happened to me. What terrible thing did I do that made me deserve getting cancer? Did my love of all things chocolate cause the cancer? All I knew for certain is that I wanted it gone immediately.

I have lost count of how many chemotherapy sessions I’ve had (the cancer came back in May of this year). I had a single mastectomy and over 60 rounds of radiation. My body is scarred and discolored but it continues to keep going. My life certainly isn’t what I envisioned but I think it’s how the universe envisioned it.

"There are a lot of companies out there that turn a product pink for the month of October but don’t actually donate the money to any breast cancer organization. "

I made a career change and am now honored to work for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a national nonprofit. This organization threw me a lifeline when I needed it the most. When I was struggling financially from the high cost of cancer, LBBC paid my rent for a month. When I felt alone, LBBC connected me with dozens of other young women going through a breast cancer diagnosis. When I felt uniformed about cancer, LBBC provided me with up-to-date and easy to understand information that allowed me to ask meaningful questions of my doctors.

I actually get to use my love of shopping (and shoes) in my job, as I manage our Shop to Support program. That’s how I met the team at SAS Shoes. Earlier this year I visited SAS, which is a LBBC partner, to meet the team and see their headquarters. You can imagine my excitement at spending the day around shoes!

While I loved the shoes, what I loved more was how committed SAS is to breast cancer awareness. There are a lot of companies out there that turn a product pink for the month of October but don’t actually donate the money to any breast cancer organization. But during my SAS tour I met a woman who is also a breast cancer survivor. She shared her story with me and vice versa. That’s the thing about breast cancer – no matter how different you may be from another woman, you’re immediately in the same club (the one no one actually chooses to join).

Norma, my SAS tour guide, shared that both her mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer. She introduced me to two other SAS employees who are breast cancer survivors (cancer discriminates against no one).

Today I am still navigating the uncertain waters that cancer causes but I am also learning to live in the here and now. I have yet to meet a man on a white horse but I do have a terrific career that allows me to fill my closet with shoes – SAS shoes of course!"

Learn more about Living Beyond Breast Cancer.