The “Women of Hope” 2012
Each Hope Shell comes with a hang tag containing an original inspirational quote from a courageous Miche Representative facing the adversities of serious illness with strength and grace. This quote sustains and carries her through even the darkest times.
It is our sincere hope that these quotes will uplift you and your loved ones as you face and overcome your own challenges—whatever they may be! The following six women’s quotes were selected to appear on Hope Bag hang tags in 2012, and their stories—in their own words—appear below. “Hope Lives” in each of these amazing ladies, and the Miche community thanks them for sharing with all of us.
Barbara Erlemann (Arizona)
QUOTE: When all hope is lost, look to God. He will help you find it again. After a battle with endometriosis and my diagnosis of breast cancer, I remember looking at my daughter and thinking, "If my battle can help find a cure for the young women of her generation, then I could go through anything one more time," or in my case—two more times!
When Miche was first introduced to me in 2010, I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of this fantastic company. Then, when I learned the story of the Hope Shell, I fell in love with Miche all over again! This is because as a three-time cancer survivor, finding a cure for this terrible life-threatening disease is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
My battles with cancer began in the late 1980s when I was diagnosed with endometriosis. At the time, my husband was a U.S. Marine, and we were stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The only treatment for my condition was a complete hysterectomy, rendering me unable to bear children. However, in 1993 my prayers for a child were answered when God brought my daughter Jennifer into our lives.
Sadly, I found myself facing cancer for a second time in 1997. I was diagnosed with stage 4 aggressive cancer in my right breast. By the grace of God and the love and support of my family, I made it through that battle—only to fight one more round with cancer.
In 2002, I was told I had pre-cancerous traits in my left breast, causing the doctors to perform a ful mastectomy. Once again, I was able to remain strong because of my faith in God and the love of my family.
Now I am a proud Independent Miche Representative, and Jennifer—who is now 17—is not only my assistant, but also my best friend and greatest joy.
When all hope seems lost, you can always look to God and He will help you find it again.
Sherri Marino (Florida)
QUOTE: Cancer has given me much more than it has ever taken.
I’m 29, engaged and in love with the man of my dreams and I now have STAGE 3 COLON CANCER . . . what? No way—this cannot happen, GOD, not now! You answered my prayer and sent me Michael; we are planning a wedding and we want children; I want to live. These are my thoughts as I lie in Outpatient after having a routine colonoscopy and was told a large cancerous tumor was found. Glancing across the room at Michael I wonder if he’s as shocked as I am. Will he still want to get married? The “what if’s” are spinning and the doctor is talking. I lose my composure momentarily and grab the coat lapels of the good doctor; I pull him close to me, look into his eyes and say, “Am I going to die”? His response is, “We are going to do our best not to let that happen”! I was looking for something like—NO WAY!
I’m 52; I’m married to the love of my life, Michael; I’m the mother of a beautiful son and daughter. I am a 22- year STAGE 3 COLON CANCER SURVIVOR!
Through this journey, I learned patience, faith, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, humility, trust, and so much more. But most importantly, it has given me so many blessings. I would never have known what I had been GIVEN had I not lived this journey. The love showered on me by God, my husband, family and friends has proven to me just how much cancer could not take away. It is truly a tie that binds. Not what one would expect—but then life is full of surprises.
Hana Richardson (Georgia)
QUOTE: My dreams don’t have an expiration date and if I breathe life another day there still is hope for my future.
The above has become my favorite quote to share with my family, friends and women because it gave me the drive to get up and keep going when the doctor told me that I could never have children again, or that I should stop dancing. I say this quote to myself too when I want to give up and when I feel like I am too old to pursue a passion or dream.
As a woman in her mid-30s, being a full-time Mother/Miche Representative/Dance Instructor/Graduate Student, and having a previously healthy medical history, I surprisingly collapsed on our living room floor and lost consciousness in 2010 (six weeks after giving birth to my son) from atrial fibrillation. The doctors diagnosed me with postpartum cardiomyopathy (also known as a weakened heart after giving childbirth). As my family experienced much economic hardship during this period, I struggled with the challenges of seeking treatment without the necessary health insurance needed to cover medical expenses. The first time I was declined service at an office visit, my heart sank. I felt anger, sadness, and panic all at once. It was only a matter of time till I had a stroke or heart attack and risked the possibility of death leaving behind my devoted husband of 12 years, a thriving energetic 3-year-old, and an adorable 2-month old baby boy.
I have since been blessed to receive the necessary medical treatment and can now take care of my children and take action as a survivor by sharing my story of hope and triumph with women, excelling in my studies for Master of Public Health at Emory University, teaching young women through dance fitness to live healthier lives, and volunteering my time in the community through service with the American Heart Association in Atlanta, GA.
Serving as a Miche Representative has not only been an exciting business endeavor for me, but has also given me hope for the future and empowered me to reach out to more women by sharing my story of hope and excitement for Miche’s designs.
Anna McKimmy (Michigan)
QUOTE: The day you can look at your cancer as a blessing is the day your healing begins and you can help others find hope in their personal trials.
My personal trial with cancer began in August of 1998 when a routine mammogram revealed a suspicious spot that was biopsied and diagnosed as Stage I breast cancer. Fortunately, I had faith and family to help me through the ensuing months of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and all of its byproducts of fatigue, hair loss, and endless doctor appointments. I can thankfully say that for the last twelve years I have been cancer-free!
In December 2009 my daughter in Detroit gave me a wonderful present that has changed my life. In a beautifully wrapped package were a Miche Base Bag and two Shells: Cassidy and Ellie (black). I had never heard of this company or its products and I was absolutely amazed with the ingenuity and quality of this handbag. Since I live five hours from Detroit, I got online and, as they say, “The rest is history.” I have happily been a Miche Representative since January 2010!
Since Miche developed the Hope Shell with its commitment to raising $1 million for cancer research, the company has given me a voice and opportunities to share my story and to serve this worthwhile cause. In October of 2010 I sponsored a breast cancer fundraiser in Elk Rapids, Michigan for one of my customers, Joy Marolf, and sold over $4,000 in Miche products with $1,200 of that total going to Joy. While wintering in Arizona this past winter, I participated in a fundraiser for Eve’s Place (a woman’s shelter) and donated a portion of my profits from selling Miche products to that cause. More recently on June 13,2011, I participated in the Antrim County High Tea for Breast Cancer Prevention (www.antrimcountyhightea.org) by designing a beautiful table with the theme of Hope and Purses; I donated a Petite Miche Bag, Hope (multi) Shell, and Hope Charmer to a silent auction which raised $50 for this cause.
The Bible says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (I Peter 4:10).” In hindsight, I can say that my cancer was a blessing because it has encouraged me to use the gifts God has given me. I am thankful to Him for His grace of healing and for leading me to become a Miche Representative, where my goal is to Help Others Positively Everyday (HOPE).
Becky Crary (West Virginia)
QUOTE: Hope is an awesome force that with faith, love and a positive attitude you can conquer anything your heart desires.
In July 2003 I started seeing doctors about my eye tearing. I saw five doctors in an 18-month period, all of whom diagnosed me with a sinus infection. Finally a doctor sent me for a CT scan in October 2004; the diagnosis was a sinus infection again. I was sent to an ENT doctor who did sinus surgery in January 2005; he took a biopsy and discovered I had Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (a very rare cancer).
I went to Duke University Medical Center where I had surgery on February 21, 2005. I lost my eye, half my nose, part of my face, my tear duct, my sinus, my palette, my upper jaw bone and my teeth— all on the right-hand side. The operation lasted 14 hours.
I had reconstructive surgery that same day. A skin graft was performed to make a flap that would cover my nose, face, eye, and palette. Part of the flap cover was unsuccessful because of the radiation, and now there is a hole where my eye used to be. I had radiation five days a week for six weeks. I have a prosthesis which covers all areas of my face and an operational device for my mouth.
I have continued to have health problems due to seizures, resulting in a staph infection in my brain and the cancer spreading to both my lungs.
I will continue to persevere and defeat every challenge that’s put before me. If it were not for God in my life I would have never had the strength to overcome such obstacles.
You must have hope to have faith, but you don’t have to have faith to have hope. A part of having faith is “. . . being sure of what we hope for . . .”
Without Hope I would have hit bottom and would have never been able to pull myself back up. Having Hope got me further than I ever expected and continues to help me every day.
Jacqueline True (California)
QUOTE: Live to Dream.
This is my story of Hope. I was born in New York; when I was seven years old my family and I moved to Argentina, where I was raised. After finishing High School at the age of 17 I met a wonderful man who would one day become my husband. Little did we know what life had in store for us! Right after graduation, I was diagnosed for the first time with thyroid cancer. At the time I wasn’t scared of the diagnosis—I just knew I would need surgery and radiation and then move on.
I got married, and had two beautiful girls. At 30 I was diagnosed with renal cancer. This time I wasn’t so calm— I was scared and thought, “How can I leave this earth when I have two little ones that need me so much?” Again, I beat cancer and I decided to change my nutrition and exercise habits. Life was good, but didn’t last.
At the age of 40 I was diagnosed with two different breast cancers. This time I underwent two grueling years of treatment that included a mastectomy, chemo, and more surgeries. During my times of chemo I watched a lot of TV, including QVC, where I was introduced for the first time to Miche. During two of my outings I saw Miche Bags again— once in Vegas and another time at an event. I told myself that when I made it thru chemo I would become a Miche Representative. Today— at two years cancer free— I have become a Miche Representative. I love what I do. I make it a point to always promote the Hope Shell, and all my commissions from these sales go to help Michelle’s Place, a breast cancer organization. I’m grateful to share my story. I love my inspirational quote: “Live to Dream.” Sometimes during my cancer I got so caught up in my battle that I forgot to dream, hope and plan for my future and just live for today!