Meet Amberly Connolly
The Pink Power Mom Network has transformed individually unique journeys of moms fighting, surviving and thriving into a powerful network of first-respondents for any individual impacted by breast cancer. This compassionate network empowers Pink Power Moms to continue giving back and positively impact families as they serve as community activists, sources of inspiration, and premier patient advocates. Pink Power Mom, created and funded by Kids II, annually selects eight inspiring women who have persevered through their battle and actively make a difference in the breast cancer community through local and global initiatives. Visit us on Facebook to learn how you can be involved and connect with all of our Pink Power Moms!
Please recap your cancer journey in a brief paragraph.
I was diagnosed with stage 2, grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma at the age of 29. I had a four-year-old daughter and 14-week-old twins at the time. I faced a double mastectomy with reconstruction, six months of chemo, and an additional six months of Herceptin therapy. I knew about my lump in my breast for almost a year before I found out it was cancer. The lump was thought to be related to the pregnancy and breastfeeding. It was on my third opinion that I found out the lump was not normal and not related to pregnancy. It was cancer! It was a very stressful time in my life since I had small kids, was working as a nurse, and was finishing my Master’s degree. With a lot of prayer and support from even complete strangers, I made it through and survived. Now that I look back on everything, cancer really took nothing from me at all (except my real breasts). The disease gave me so many positive things. I have a new outlook on life and I want to make a difference. I won’t stop until I do. I was lucky enough to survive and get a second chance to be all the things I want to be.
Tell me about how the Pink Power Mom network has changed you?
Since being awarded the Pink Power Mom honor, my motivation and commitment to making a difference has gone through the roof. Having the support and knowing I am on the right track is priceless in my ultimate mission. Seeing what the other Pink Power moms have done has inspired me so much. I want to share my story with other young women and moms like me. Being a Pink Power mom has opened so many doors and I have a feeling they will keep opening for many, many years to come!
What is the focus of your charity of choice?
The charity of my choice is called Camp Kesem. Camp Kesem is a FREE summer camp for children of cancer patients. Their focus is to provide children affected by a parent’s cancer with a supportive, lifelong camp community that recognizes and understands their unique needs. They also empower college students to make a difference and build invaluable leadership skills by developing and managing every aspect of their Camp Kesem chapter. The camps are organized and run by volunteer college students at 37 universities across the country. www.campkesem.org
Please share the opportunities that came from the PPM donation:
As a Pink Power mom, I have been given the opportunity to pave the way for 18 campers to experience the magic of Camp Kesem!
Where do you want your foundation or charity to be in five years, if you could dream big?
My own foundation in the works is called Survivors Raising Kids. Our mission is to help as many families as possible who are currently dealing with cancer and the uproar it can cause in a person’s life. We provide hope, access to resources, and respite care for families, including funds for childcare, help obtaining childcare, meal delivery, and support.
As a parent, not being able to care for a child in the way you want is a horrible feeling. We hope to ease the stress of raising children while ill or recovering. We are a grassroots organization with big dreams! Oftentimes, it can be overlooked when a parent is diagnosed with cancer that they may be too ill during treatment to care for their child. So, everyday cancer patients make the heart-wrenching decision to send their child to stay with someone else. NO parent should have to deal with this situation alone, so we hope to provide care for these families throughout the course of treatment. If I could dream big, I would have a full service “Respite House” here in my community or maybe all over the U.S. The respite house would be a safe, home-like, interactive and stimulating place for the children of parents with cancer. The kids could be dropped off at any time while their parent/s go to appointments, recover from treatment, run errands, or just need to take a break. The house would be a source of support and hope for the whole family. I would also love to include a transportation component and a nurse navigation/care coordination piece to my overall mission.
What is the web address or social media url for your charity so people can learn more?