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‘It’s very scary hearing the word cancer, especially at such a young age.’

“I am a business owner, a nurse, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, but most importantly, I am a strong woman.
I started my business nearly three decades ago and was lucky to be able to do what I loved, while having my daughter with me – growing a business that carried products that not only empowered me, but empowered our customers. Everything always had a story and we loved to share them. 
In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 41 and it really turned my life upside down. It forced me to recognize my own strength and the importance of loving yourself. I also realized that this is not a journey I was on alone. My family and friends were amazing and there were many amazing women that were in my life that helped me, too.
It’s very scary hearing the word cancer especially at such a young age. I really thought I took care of myself. While I did, I learned that there was so much more that I could do. I went through some extensive treatment. I had chemotherapy and then I had a mastectomy. I went through radiation and I also chose to remove my ovaries – all before the age of 42.
 After I got through this part of my story, I knew I wanted to give back and create something that expressed my journey and also helped others on their journey. I created a beautiful line of jewelry with my daughter, Ciara called ‘Her Story Jewelry Collection’.

​​Our ‘Strong Woman Collection’ is a line that is about strength, empowerment and inspiration. It is a collection of jewelry created with the intention of celebrating women and their strength. Each piece is intended to be a symbol and a daily reminder of their inner strength. We wanted to create something that will uplift and empower women every day and help them see the beauty in themselves.
Strength has many faces and we all have different challenges that we go through, but my HOPE was to remind us that we are not alone.
The next part of our collection was the ‘Celebrate Her’. This collection embodies the qualities of a woman’s soul with each stone representing the part of a woman’s story that she wants to tell – the story that she has within herself. We all need to be the author of our own story because the most important story you will ever tell is your own.
Two years after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She battled hard for six years and I was by her side the entire time. While she was going through her treatment, Ciara and I helped her to create a sanctuary space in her home where she could learn about taking care of her self and begin her healing. A place where she could retreat and nourish every aspect of her mind, body and soul.

​​ I lost her in 2016.
I think that that was one of the hardest things I’ve been through in my life so far. I promised myself that I was going to continue to help women empower themselves, find their strength and live it every day. This is where Her Sanctuary was born. Ciara and I created a space in honor and memory of my sister. A place where you retreat, refresh, reflect, and renew. A place where you can learn about how to take care of yourself. 
Our mission is to provide spaces in which beauty, experience, and wellness are supported by products that guide one’s journey to well-being, celebrate women and their stories, while inspiring and empowering others to live a happy, healthy, and grateful life! I feel so blessed that I get to work with my daughter creating and inspiring women to live their best possible life. 

We appreciate guest writer, Susan Morreale for telling her story to Hope Rises. To find more stories of inspiration and hope, click here. 

Her beauty radiated with strength, grace and commitment. Commitment to living the best possible life she can and helping others along the way.” -Sue 

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