In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing the hope-filled story of breast cancer survivors, Crystal King and her mother Virginia Jenkins. Crystal and Virginia share more than their beautiful and charismatic smiles. Both women had estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, treated by a single mastectomy, on the same side. Crystal, diagnosed in late 2003 at just 25 years old, recalls that “knowing my mom had survived breast cancer before me gave me a spirit of hope.” Virginia was also able to provide information and resources, having faced her breast cancer diagnosis just three years earlier, at the age of 50. Crystal says her mom’s breast cancer experience didn’t lessen the shock of her own diagnosis, but it did alleviate many of the unknowns.
Twelve years later, Crystal is thankful for her health, especially in light of the prevalence of cancer in her family. In addition to Virginia, she has uncles and aunts who’ve faced prostate and ovarian cancer, the latter of which led Crystal to pursue genetic testing. However, testing revealed she does not carry BRCA gene mutations. Crystal’s own son even had a recent scare with suspected lymphoma (which thankfully was later deemed benign), and still, in spite of all of this, she boldly says, “I’ve chosen not to live in fear.”
While chatting with Crystal and Virginia about Mother’s Day, we learned the holiday has always been a special time for them, but not in the way you might expect. Crystal fondly remembers that Virginia used to write Mother’s Day love letters on yellow legal paper to Crystal and her siblings, expressing her appreciation for them. That pride is still evident today in the way Virginia reflects on Crystal, saying, “You always hope your kids will outshine you. I wanted Crystal to have better and do better than I could, and she is everything I could have hoped for her to be.”
Crystal and Virginia did us the honor of modeling our leaf pendant, available for purchase at the NBCF Shop. This delicate piece honors our founding story—breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail, NBCF’s CEO & Co-founder, was inspired to start NBCF after reflecting on a brilliant fall leaf – a symbol of life, growth, and hope for the future. The leaf pendant is a thoughtful and affordable gift for Mom, or any inspirational woman you know.