For some people, breast cancer can be a hard lesson to swallow. There are those, however, who look on the bright side and  learn that it can help you find the courage to pursue your dreams. We hope you enjoy Laura’s story as much as we did!

Laura

Laura with her lovely locks all grown back

In ’03 when my kids were 11 & 7 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was 42 yrs, the picture of health running 10K a day/4-5 days a week with a healthy diet and happy outlook on life.  Lesson #1, cancer picks who it wants.

I didn’t feel ‘sick’ till the chemo.  When my hair started falling out I cut it all off, made some braids with my daughter and sewed them to my bandana.  My kids were afraid to see me bald, too much change for them and I looked sick to them with my bald head.  I wore this bandanna knowing people might be thinking ‘she’s a biker chick”, when I’m really a soccer mom.  I just didn’t want the stares of pity.

In doing this desperate act of recycling I’d unknowingly planted a seed for my future.  Lesson #2, necessity is the mother of…kooky head gear.

After treatment I met a sewing ‘guru’ teacher and approached her with an idea for recycling of a different kind.  I’d been an interior decorator for years and hated the waste of all those gorgeous designer sample fabrics going to our bloated landfills. I had an idea to divert the landfill and reinvent these leftover fabrics into a line of handbags.  I had the vision, she had the know-how and our company Echoes in the Attic was born.

bags

Some of the many lovely bags of Echoes in the Attic

Cancer is 6 years in my rear-view and our recycling, redesigning company is 4.  We now have our upcycled handbags in 65 stores across Canada, launching in the U.S., 8 e-tailers and our own webstore.  We’ve been in countless National magazines and on TV and all thanks to an event I would have never believed, as it was happening to me, that it would inspire me to such heights of happiness and following my dream.  My kids now see a thriving, recycling designer mom with a full head of hair and a fantastic future of helping the planet.  Lesson #3, sometimes when we think we have no choice, we can still choose our outlook and what we will do with what we’ve been given.

Green Regards,

Laura

http://www.echoesintheattic.com/

When Laura emailed us back with photos, her response to why she wanted to share her story was so wonderful, we have to share it with you too:

I was so determined during my treatment to only allow positive stories into my world.  I’d even put my hand up (like Diana Ross) and STOP people if they were going to a place in a story that had a negative outcome, and ask that if it wasn’t a happy ending to refrain from telling me the rest.  Surrounding yourself with positivity is key to healing and being able to recount my story for anyone looking for the silver lining is an honor for me.