Shardell's journey with Carolina Breast Friends (CBF) began in April 2023, shortly after she moved to Charlotte. In search of support for her battle against HER2+ breast cancer, Shardell found solace in CBF's mission. Having faced the challenging reality of a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 34, Shardell's story is one of resilience and determination.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Shardell is a vibrant soul with a love for food, travel, and sports. Her journey took an unexpected turn when she discovered a lump in her breast in April 2020. Having lost her job the month before, she postponed her mammogram until she could secure insurance, finally undergoing the screening in August that year. With the subsequent breast cancer diagnosis, the following months saw her endure the rigors of chemotherapy, radiation, and a double mastectomy.
At almost 3 years post diagnosis, Shardell's connection with CBF became a lifeline during her ongoing journey as a breast cancer Survivor. According to Shardell, CBF provided her with more than just medical support; it offered a community where she could share her experiences with others who truly understood. She engaged in various activities facilitated by CBF, from lymphatic massages to attending the Pink Boots Ball and Flannels & Flapjacks events.
For Shardell, these moments weren't just about receiving care; they were opportunities to connect with fellow Survivors and those just beginning their journeys. Her involvement with CBF allowed her to be a beacon of encouragement, knowing that not everyone has the same familial and friend support that she was fortunate to have.
With a deep understanding of the struggles one faces during the breast cancer journey, Shardell has become an active advocate for breaking the stigma surrounding breast cancer. Her mother and grandmother had faced the same battle, with the latter losing her life to the disease. That's why Shardell aims to change the narrative of her family's history by fostering a community of support and love.
Shardell goes above and beyond to give back to the breast cancer community. Thanksgiving saw her donating turkeys and Cornish hens to Survivors in need, while Christmas became an opportunity to collaborate with her church to provide gifts to Survivors with children. Shardell's heart of gold shines through her commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others, ensuring that no one walks the path of breast cancer alone.
Through Shardell's story, the mission of Carolina Breast Friends comes to life a mission grounded in support, community, and breaking the isolation that often accompany a breast cancer diagnosis.