March's Mission Moment was written by Alicia Roberts, CBF Volunteer
Technically, Erin Lind met Ann Nelson well before she ever stepped foot in The Pink House.
In the aftermath of her first breast cancer diagnosis in July 2014 ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in her right breast, which was treated with a lumpectomy and radiation Erin joined the LiveStrong program at Sara's YMCA in Ballantyne. She met Ann there.
Both moms of boys and familiar with the rowdy homelife that can create, Erin and Ann just clicked.
"I just liked her energy," Erin explained. "She was happy, she was positive. I just gravitated toward her."
When facing a second diagnosis of DCIS in 2020, this time in the left breast, Erin reached out to Ann. Erin was feeling isolated by her diagnosis in the midst of the COVID pandemic.
"I didn't know what to do," she said. "The hardest thing for me was that Alex (her husband of 16 years) couldn't go to any appointments with me."
Ann had shared with Erin her experience with Carolina Breast Friends, and Erin hoped The Pink House was still open and helping breast cancer patients despite the pandemic.
The good news: It was, and Ann helped Erin get signed up for the Thankful Feast, her first event at The Pink House.
Ann became the obvious choice when Erin reached out for a mentor.
With her second diagnosis, Erin's only treatment option was a mastectomy because an MRI-guided biopsy discovered a large mass of atypia, or abnormal cells in the breast tissue. She chose a bilateral procedure with a DIEP flap reconstruction.
And Ann was there whenever Erin needed her, delivering a care package for post-surgery, bringing a meal, or meeting at The Pink House for a jewelry-making session.
"I kept hearing about The Pink House the first time around and I really wanted to do it, but I had three babies," Erin said. "Radiation was more exhausting than having three C-sections."
With her boys in middle and high school, Erin has a little more freedom to get involved, and she considers the programs she attends at The Pink House important self-care and the connections Carolina Breast Friends fosters through the mentorship program vital to her recovery.
"I'm so thankful," she said. "I lost two friends (to breast cancer) last year. But I'm still here. The prognosis is good. ... I don't take a lot of time for me, but I love being able to go to The Pink House when I can."