Sisters, Barbara Manni and Lauren Paige
My name is Barbara Manni. I am 42 years old. I have been married to the most incredible man, for 16 years and am the mother of two. I have been a breast cancer survivor for five months. Like many of the stories, I felt a lump in my breast. I have a lot in common with others in that I did not think it was anything other than a cyst. I was up to date with my mammograms so how could something develop so quickly? I was nervous, but I was brave enough to face the situation and have it checked. When you hear that early detection can save lives, it is true. It saved mine!
After numerous tests and surgery, it was discovered that I had an aggressive type of breast cancer, and that I was going to need chemotherapy and radiation as a part of the treatment. Hearing the news was of course devastating. In a matter of weeks we were thrown into a horrible world we knew nothing about. I went from planning the kidís calendar to having the next six months of my life planned out for me. I was scared for my children and my husband. I was afraid for myself. Was I going to die? How sick was I going to get from the chemo, and how was I going to deal with losing my long blonde hair?
I remember telling my husband John that if I were to die tomorrow, I can say I had the perfect life. We did everything right! So thinking that, I knew what I had to do. I hugged my husband, had my cry, and then made a plan. My plan was to take it slow. Face the challenges as they came along. Be strong for my husband and children whom I adore. Share my situation with loved ones and friends. Accept help gracefully and appreciate the kind words and prayers. I did not complain. I figured for what I was going through, someone- somewhere was experiencing something far worse. I always tried to see the up-side of every situation. Even when complications would arise, I kept that same attitude. I made sure to laugh, smile, and be myself. I did what I could, accepted what I could not.
I have to say it was not easy. There were days where I really had to convince myself to get out of bed. There were times when I thought the physical pain and mental anguish would cripple me. I found the beginning of the treatment were the worst. I had surgery, a week later my first chemo, then had 10-12 day grace period left with my long blonde hair. The anxiety over the hair loss surprised me. I am not one to dwell on other peopleís thoughts or opinions, but that is all I could think of. I knew it was only hair, and that it would grow back, but I was so upset.
I could not find anything to wear on my head. It was then I realized I had to take control. I had to do something that would solve the situation I was in. I bought a very costly wig, but found it hot, itchy and would not be able to wear it for any length of time. I felt I was too young to wear a turban, and regular bandanas did not cover my whole head. Without hair, I needed a way to show my personality and hats alone were not soft enough, and scarves were too bulky for me.
I was running out of time. I felt I had been through enough and I needed something to make me feel special and pretty. I realized like anything else, I would get used to my new look and make the best of it. I could not change the fact that I did not have hair, but I certainly could give myself some options. Thatís just what we did. My sister and I designed kerchiefs for me to wear. We chose incredibly soft fabrics in solids and patterns. We made them Fun and stylish. We made what we now call a KareChief.tm
In January of 2008 I found out that my sister, Barbara, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though the statistics for getting breast cancer are staggering, I was still shocked. I was scared for my sister and for what she was going to have to go through. She would be subjected to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I wanted to be able to do something to help her...anything! I tried putting together a gift basket filled with things to help make her feel better. I looked for some nice scarves or hats or something that she could wear after she lost her hair. I went to so many different stores, only to come up empty handed.
Shortly after starting treatments, Barbara called me. She had some ideas for a new style of kerchief and needed my help. Her hair was going to be falling out any day. She was starting to panic because she didn't have anything she felt comfortable wearing. I grabbed my sewing machine and went over to Barbara's house. We went and picked out several different styles of fabric and got to work! After many revisions, we came up with a design that fit her head and her personality perfectly, and they really looked great!
Barbara said to me, "This has helped me so much, you don't even know." That meant so much to me. I felt so happy to be able to help my sister, to put our ideas together to create this special product, the KareChiefTM.
Our goal at KareChiefsTM is to provide you with stylish, comfortable, quality products, to help you Live Life and Look Great! We are proud to offer a wonderful alternative to traditional bandanas and headcoverings: The KareChiefTM.
We hope they are enjoyed by all, especially those who wear them because of thinning hair or hair loss.
We want to GIVE BACK! KareChiefsTM will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our products to cancer research, as well as cancer related charities and organizations.
"WE KARE" FOR THE CAUSE!