March is Women's History Month, yet the entire year of 2023 is a historic milestone for Carolina Breast Friends! We are celebrating our 20th year serving our mission! And it all started with a history-making woman whose dream began everything we have become: our founder Kristy Adams-Ebel.
Kristy was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32. She quickly recognized that part of her ability to cope with the struggle depended on connecting and communicating with others who are on the same journey. She understood the importance of being in a positive setting where the focus was on healing, self-exploration, and empowerment through knowledge . . . as well as a healthy dose of social nourishment and humor.
To know Kristy was to experience her positive spirit. CBF board member Pam Phipps, who was one of the first to join Kristy in founding this organization, shares, "Kristy was electric. And she was so genuine. You were immediately drawn to her."
Kristy's husband of 11+ years, Chris Ebel, shares how she met her diagnosis, the surgeries, and the chemotherapy with "the brightest smile you would ever want to see" no matter how sick she was. A coworker of hers once summed up her presence like this: "There are people that impress you and others that touch you, but few ever truly impact you. Kristy was one of those people of impact!"
With such personal capacity for joy and goodwill, it's no wonder she envisioned a place where anyone diagnosed with breast cancer could come together for empowerment, hope, laughter, and connection that raises the spirit. It's also no wonder that her dream took wing and is still aloft two decades later at The Pink House, where we are serving breast cancer Survivors & Thrivers in the way Kristy envisioned.
When Kristy and a small cadre of other breast cancer Survivors started the organization in 2003, they met at Myers Park Methodist Church to bring together their ever-growing "fight team" of Survivors & Thrivers. Then in 2011, the acquisition and renovation of a large property at 1607 Morehead Street yielded The Pink House, where people living with breast cancer, at any point in the experience, are able to join together the way Kristy imagined! Today, the support of those on a common journey also extends to Survivors' & Thrivers' family and caregivers.
Until her death in 2006, Kristy's determination, selflessness, and humor remained as strong as ever. She was . . . and is . . . an inspiration to everyone at Carolina Breast Friends.
As Kristy herself liked to quote, "I walk. I fall down, and in the meantime, I keep dancing."
We're both proud and grateful to be carrying out Kristy's vision for 20 years and counting, and to continue to expand the depth and breadth of our work to ease the journey for anyone navigating the experience of breast cancer. Here's to 20 more years!