Monday, February 1, 2010

From Survivor to Thriver

This post was written by Edie Weinstein, who attended last year's event.

In early 2009, I reconnected with a friend whom I haven't spoken with for 30 years. He introduced me to his wife Andi Morris. A Center City Philadelphia area Realtor, Andi is also a two time breast cancer survivor, who shares, “I was diagnosed when I was 37 and then when I was 43, I was re-diagnosed.”

With the initial diagnosis, she was frightened and shocked. With the second diagnosis, came anger, “because I was working so hard to get beyond breast cancer.” Andi has a full, rich life that includes travel, returning to work and volunteering for an amazing organization called Living Beyond Breast Cancer. She is also an active board member for the organization.

I came face to face with this thriver, (my definition: someone who has surpassed survivor mode and reaches out to help others because of his or her own experience) when I joined a group of 200+ brave souls who gathered on the steps of Philadelphia Museum of Art, on May 17, 2009. This same structure made famous by the pounding feet and upraised arms of Rocky was the holy ground for a gentler endeavor; the 7th Annual Yoga Unites For Living Beyond Breast Cancer. More than $100,000 was raised on a day that carried wind gusts which threatened to blow us into the Schuylkill River!

When I arrived at the event, the gray clouds loomed ominously and the steps were already puddled and slippery. As I stood from the next-to-top tier of the steps and gazed downward, I looked with delight at the rainbow sea of mats and people gathered. All ages, body sizes, levels of yoga-expertise, some familiar faces from the yoga community (which I have come to know has some of the biggest hearts in the world) some new companions in the mission to support survivors in re-creating their of choice and chance, we were becoming.

As for Andi? Her team of friends surrounded her during the yoga event, coyly calling themselves “Andi's Girls,” a double entendre' in reference to her reconstructed breasts.
To help ensure that others keep laughing in the midst of their own challenges while they live with and beyond breast cancer, please visit the Yoga Unites for Living Beyond Breast Cancer website. Form a fundraising team to help us reach our new goal of raising $200K for women affected by breast cancer!

Edie Weinstein is a free-lance journalist, speaker, social worker, Bliss Mistress, PR Goddess, Joy Coach and Cosmic Concierge, as well as an interfaith minister. Her website is

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