On February 12th, I got a phone call informing me that my dear friend Rachel Peterson was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. As I sit here typing these words, I am recalling the quick turn in emotion, as I answered the phone excited to hear a friend’s voice and then bursting into tears at Dumpling Darling when I finally processed what I was being told.
My friend Rachel is 5 years younger than me, an athlete, a runner, an energetic life liver. She is also an entrepreneur, creating her income with her own brain, time and resources, all of which are about to become precious commodities as cancer treatments invade her body and evaporate her time.
Rachel is a supporter of others, both in her personal life and professional. When she first dove into the entrepreneurial journey, Rachel worked with me on my social media presence, helping to implement a lot of the structure you see today. She helped shape Wednesdays with Whitney into what it is, and facilitated several social media campaigns on behalf of my business while also overhauling my CRM and giving my website a much needed boost.
These are the things she done on the outside. On the inside, Rachel has sat with me while I cried, showed up when I needed something but didn’t know what, watched Winston and sent me cute selfies of the two of them snuggling, and been the kind of friend that I can only describe as one of my “ride or dies.” When you know, you know, and with Rachel, I knew from the moment we met, we would walk a long way together.
Now, as she begins her battle with cancer, I will walk with her, I will run ahead and clear the path, I will bring all the joy and laughter into her life that I possibly can and I will fight with her.
As business owners, there are the things we plan out; goals, projections, saving for taxes, travel and time off. Then there are the things we could never conceive of planning for; cancer, loss of physical freedom, medical bills that are incompressible in comparison to medical coverage, loss of your breasts, potentially the loss of being able to have kids and the loss of the ability to work for yourself.
How do we plan for devastating circumstances like this? Its time’s like this where all we can do is ask for help.
As we rally around Rachel and structure a fight on her behalf, I’ve asked her what would help most and here is what she said.
Financially contribute to her fight.
Rachel’s battle will be long. She has triple positive breast cancer ( a “good” kind, if that’s even possible) and she will be going through 16 weeks of chemo, followed by a mastectomy, radiation and hormone therapy. This journey will take all of her physical and mental strength along with her financial resources. If you are an entrepreneur, you know the difficulty of getting decent medical coverage. There will be lots of bills that go uncovered, not to mention the loss of income, as she has to cut back on her client work in order to fight for her life. If you are able, please consider contributing to her Go Fund Me campaign.
Send good vibes and happy gifts.
Above anything else, Rachel asked that we remember she is still human. She still wants to talk about what’s happening in our lives, laugh over the frivolous details of first dates or client horror stories. This road will be hard, but it will be harder with no distractions. She will be setting up a Caring Bridge sit for those who want to follow on her journey, hoping to relieve some of the emotional fatigue that comes from updating everyone individually. Remember that Rachel still needs to laugh. Send magazines, funny books or empowering gift, anything to take her mind off of what’s happening inside her body. She loves candles and massages and that makes her feel special and human.
Healthy, low prep food.
This one is the hardest as she lives in Bend Oregon and we mostly live in Des Moines. Low prep, healthy meals are going to be key. Rachel is admittedly a lack luster chef and doesn’t see that changing once chemo is introduced into daily life, so healthy meal service kits would be ideal. Please refrain from sending sugary comfort food. Sugar is the first ingredient to go when fighting the battle for your life.
If you are down here reading the bottom of this blog post, THANK YOU. You must be one of us, a human that jumps to action to rally around one of our own. A human that knows that we all have enough and can give to someone who is truly in need. A human who is searching for a way to contribute to the health of our sister.
Please feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions or drop items off at my house if you would like to contribute to a group care package. I will be doing everything within my power to support Rachel. Thank you for going on this journey with us.