I am excited to share my story with you about how such a simple concept – to Spread Your Sparkle – became a huge part of my life.
As crazy as it sounds, it took a stage IV cancer diagnosis for me to focus on my values, goals, and to see the world in all its beauty. This diagnosis also taught me that I could have a beautiful future and be better prepared for success because of the past challenges and poor decisions I had already worked through.
From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to start my own business. Mostly, I wanted to create something from nothing and have a platform that gives back to others by offering products that bring joy to peoples’ lives. Even so, creating this business has not been easy.
Since I believe in transparency, I am going to lay it out for you with the hope that you can learn from my experiences and see that anything is possible as long as you have a dream, passion, and a plan. Perhaps my story will ignite something within you that will help you blossom into the person you were born to become.
My life took an abrupt turn on March 30, 1984. While at college studying marketing and management, I learned over the phone that my mom had lost her battle with breast cancer. She was only 40. I was 18 at the time but I sensed that our family could not function without her. After her passing, we didn’t talk much about my mom, so I buried my feelings and felt that I was moving forward. In the years that followed I thought I was coping with her death, but, in truth, I was using her death as an excuse to make poor choices on multiple levels. For many years my best friend took the form of a bottle and I drank to numb my pain. During that period, I lived in three states and made more than my fair share of questionable choices.
Fast forward 30 years. On May 5, 2014 I received a second phone call that changed my life. I was told that I had stage III breast cancer. Flooded with emotions, I fell apart. My life became dark and took me to places that no one should ever have to go psychologically. That journey lasted close to 2 years. I endured six hospitalizations, one blood transfusion, 6 grueling months of chemotherapy (and was so sick that I barely left my house), 6 weeks of daily radiation that burned my skin from the inside, and 4 surgeries that left me with 6 ½ feet of stitches across my body. To this day, I look like a science experiment that went awry! After entering remission on February 17, 2015 my story began to unfold in a new and more meaningful direction.
I continued to work as a special education teacher in a large urban district in Kansas City, as I had done for the previous 8 years. Yet, following my final surgery in November of 2015, I knew that I wanted to make some major life changes. Even though I was passionate about my job and had a team of incredible coworkers, my heart longed to be with my family. I had left home at 18 years old and was on my own from that point forward. I had missed birthdays, reunions, and marriages. After my surgery, I decided to move back home to Minnesota. That turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I became happy.
On December 7, 2017, I received yet another life-altering phone call. This time, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer – a terminal diagnosis. After taking the time to process my emotions and come to grips with my diagnosis, my life began to take a new shape. I resigned from teaching to take care of myself and reduce sources of stress in my life. Working hard to maintain a positive mindset and focusing on what I could do, I decided to turn my dream of starting a new business into a reality. Once you identify your dream – your why – and map out an action plan, it is amazing how quickly it can come together. Excited about the direction that I was heading, I pursued my vision wholeheartedly.
Spread Your Sparkle is very important to me. I created this business to bring joy and happiness into your life. Every sticker, magnet, painting and card, is designed to bring out the best in you and to bring joy into your life. After all, you were born to sparkle and shine!