"Being diagnosed with cancer gave me a new lease on life; a refiguring of priorities how I should spend my time." - Erin Sharkey Colon
This week’s Muse of the Week is Erin Sharkey Colon. Erin is a cancer survivor of seven years (first diagnosed at the age of 32). She’s also a mom and the wife to one of this year's ILP honorees, Pablo Colon (he of the pink goatee). In my interview with Erin, she told me that her husband found her lump on her breast and that the lump was so small that her doctor probably would not have found it… “My husband calls himself the ‘boob whisperer now,” she says with a chuckle. I asked Erin how she learned about the Young Survival Coalition ( “YSC”). And how the YSC has helped her in her journey with this disease. She replied, “After my diagnosis, Pablo found the YSC. I was swirling around in a fog for a bit, but Pablo was researching. Pablo was devising a plan of attack. There was so little information on young women facing the disease, until he found the YSC which was and is such a tremendous, life-saving resource. They helped us sort through actual options for surgery, treatment and just a ton of other “life” issues. It has been 7 years since I was first diagnosed, and the YSC is like a part of our family now. Every year we ride in the Tour de Pink (TdP), a 200+ mile bike ride to support the YSC. Each year I meet more amazing people that have been touched by cancer and are coming together to ensure that young women receive the information they need to face breast cancer."
You can learn more about Erin below in my BTS Q&A interview. Thank you Spencer for capturing Erin's beauty and thank you Erin for sharing your story of survival. You are an inspiring woman. xo Stacy Igel:
1. What does 'Fuck Cancer' mean to you?
It is no longer just an expletive. It is empowering. It means I won’t sit down, I won’t lower my voice, I will stand up and fight. This disease takes too many amazing women way too soon. Fuck Cancer. I am not going down without a fight.
2. Will you be attending the In Living Pink (ILP) gala? Have you been before? If yes how does it make you feel to be in a room with so many survivors?
YES!!! This will be my first year attending and I am very excited and my husband is being honored!!!
3. Favorite quote?
“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
4. Have you changed your lifestyle (eating habits, working out, etc) since you were diagnosed?
Yes. I ride my bike a LOT now. Last fall during the TdP, I rode my first century. That means I rode over 100 miles in one day! I have to tell you it was amazing. But not because I did it, but because I was surrounded by people who did it with me. Many for the first time, many who were survivors, some who just finished or were still in treatment. Men and women of all shapes, sizes and ages pushing the limits and saying I can do this!!!
5. Can you share with us the last moment you shared with someone?
The other day I was with my 3 year old daughter. She does something every day that amazes me but this particular day she came up to me and told me she loved me. It wasn’t the first time she said it but the first time that wasn’t initiated by me. I could have stayed in that moment forever.
All photos by Spencer Kohn
Get your own F*ck Cancer tank top and get 10% off your order using the code erin10off. Hurry! Offer ends soon.