When Ray Baldino’s wife, Maureen was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2011, Ray wanted to find a way to show support for all the women undergoing this challenging life-changing event. The B-Pink project was created for all of those women who have been warriors, who will be warriors or are the cheerleaders for these tough ladies. Ray is the owner of Baldino Studios, Inc., specializing in fine art portraiture, commercial photography, digital painting, and superior client relationships.
Being a survivor is a great responsibility. I realized that when I had to rely on friends who had battled breast cancer. I wanted and needed to hear from them that everything was going to be alright. At the height of my fears, I found comfort in knowing someone that had been through the process and believed I would become part of the “survivors sisterhood.” Denise told me, “You can do this.” Sharon told me, “This is your journey. You can do it any way you want.” Dawn told me, “You’re going to be better after this is over.” They were right. Now, I am ready to be a survivor for others. — I’m so proud of my husband for taking our cancer challenge and turning it into such a positive thing for so many people. Ray, you were so strong for me and our children. You were there every step of the way. You are my best friend, and I will love you forever. — Support is so important during this time. I had so much support and love from my family and friends. It was so nice to have my sisters come down to make me laugh, cook me meals, and step in as “mom” for my family when I couldn’t. I am so thankful for my community and neighbors, some of which I didn’t even know, that brought my family meals, sent cards and flowers, and kept me in their prayers. — I’ve never been better. I’ve never felt stronger. I’m excited for the blessings of every day. I look forward to all the time I get to spend with my family, my friends, my students, and even my little dog, Rico, who kept me company during my entire recovery. I feel like a star.
In Myself, I Believe. I don’t have what it takes to give up or give in. I must fight this battle and I must win. There are no choices to be made, I can’t concede to pain or being afraid. I have got to keep going because life is worth fighting for, I have had so little and I want so much more. — I refuse to submit or be defeated, This life is mind to be completed. I will not be controlled by self-pity or doubt, I will be strong enough to fight this out. I will smile at every goal that I achieve. For I have hope and in myself, I believe. — Your body does not define you as a woman. It’s not how big your breasts are or how narrow your waist is. It is your heart and your spirit that makes you beautiful. Our beings are defined by our souls and not our bodies.
At the age of 25, with no family history of breast cancer, I can say that it took me by surprise. However, God was not surprised. He knew all along what was coming, but I praise Him because He has been with me since before this journey started. This journey has taken me down some interesting paths, but one thing I know: the hand that holds mine has a name inscribed on it. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49.16 — I am truly blessed to have an amazing, loving, and caring healer to bring me through this bad situation. This will not define me or break my spirit. I am still going through treatment and I know I will get through this while glorifying Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, having a relationship with Him is the start of a beautiful life. He has much more waiting for me, and I can’t wait! — I don’t complain about anything like I use to, and I don’t sweat the small stuff. My experience has given me an appreciation for life that I never had before. It has strengthened my faith in God and in miracles. It has brought wonderful people into my life like cancer survivors and men and women currently going through treatment, who i would never have met otherwise, and, some of whom, I know I will be friends with for lie. It has shown me the importance of treating not only friends and family with love, kindness, and compassion, but also complete strangers. You never know what someone is going through. –I would recommend keeping a journal during this process. Even when you feel physically ill, write something down. It has helped me a lot, and I can look back at those good and bad days and see how far I’ve come, all I have learned about myself, and remember those who stuck by me with support and encouragement during this journey. Keep walking by faith, for what is unseen is bigger and better than you could ever imagine. Fight the good fight, and remember, what you are going through is only temporary.
Your emotions do a number on you in the beginning, but you have to take control back so that you can prepare for battle. — My photograph represents purity because cancer brought me to my most basic core and each step afterward has been a new layer of strength on my skin.
I was overwhelmed by the support and love of friends, family, coworkers, other survivors, and even complete strangers. I feel part of something much bigger than breast cancer. It has allowed me to give back and to help others as they go through it. — Part of surviving is allowing yourself to grieve and finding some joy in the journey. Be open to the love and support around you and get used to wearing pink. My favorite phrase, and one I personally live by, is “laughter is the best medicine.”
I had a decision to make. Was my glass half-empty or half-full? I chose half-full. I was not going to let cancer crush my sunny disposition, or define who I was. I wanted my children to see their mother move forward in the face of illness, and learn that we can overcome challenges in life. So, I put on my sassy wig and took it one treatment at a time, even counting them down in “lipstick numbers” chalked on my bathroom mirror. — If I was talking to myself when I was first diagnosed I would say, “Sorry about the cancer but you are in excellent company!” There is nothing quite like talking with someone who has “worn the pink ribbon” and lived to tell about it. Get advice and learn from these women, but don’t be surprised when your experience differs. you are unique, and your experience will be too. Allow others to help you. You will both feel better. It can be hard to accept assistance from others. We are conditioned to be superwomen who can do it all: work, take care of the kids, cook, and clean. When you have breast cancer, your friends and family can’t endure the surgeries, the chemo, or the radiation treatments for you, but they can bring meals, run errands, take you to appointments, and help around the house…if you let them. Let them. –Take your journey with breast cancer one step at a time. You will have many important medical decisions to make. you must educate yourself to make informed decisions while at the same time dealing with all the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, focus only on the single next step in the process, rather than trying to tackle it all at once. This “one-step-at-a-time” strategy was a key component to my coping with breast cancer. — I participated in the B-Pink Project because of its concept of turning something negative into a positive and to raise awareness that young women can and do get breast cancer. I wanted to show other women affected by breast cancer that you can get through this challenge, and feel stronger ad full of life. My Photo’s theme was “Celebrating Birthdays” because once your life has been touched by cancer, each birthday is even more special. And, what better way to celebrate than with a giant cake?
Be strong for yourself and your family because they are affected too. It’s a tough period but you will come through it. Getting breast cancer does not have to be the end of the world. In fact, it can be the beginning of new worlds and opportunities.
God gave me confirmation as I walked through each step, as He does in all trials. Life is a journey of trials that He is in control of, and a test of faith. He has given to all He has called. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. -John 14:27
Information in Power. Having had cancer does not define me, and it never did. It was an experience I collected, and I have collected many experiences in my lifetime, both good and bad.
I do not want breast cancer to define my life, only refine my life. Soon after my mastectomy, I was told that I could not shower until my post-surgical drains were removed. After extensive research ad no product on the market to protect breast cancer/mastectomy patients while showering, I invented The Shower Shirt™, a water-resistant garment to protect mastectomy drain sites from getting wet while in the shower. In the process of bringing this product to market, I have met numerous other breast cancer survivors who saw additional ‘needs’ and created various products for breast patients. It has been life-changing in terms of my career and the myriad of people that I’ve met across the county who are truly focused on making a positive difference in helping make patients’ lives a bit easier under such difficult circumstances.
Attitude, attitude, attitude! You have to have a positive attitude. You have a choice: You can let cancer beat you or you can beat cancer. I totally look at things differently now. I don’t take anything for granted. Each day is a blessing because I know that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I have always been interested in art, so I started taking watercolor classes in 2007. I now donate my paintings to fundraisers that are affiliated with cancer. The picture of Marilyn in the background is one of my paintings. Ever since I was a child, Marilyn has fascinated me. She was beautiful and all she ever wanted was to be married and have children. Instead, she became famous. “I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go. things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one by yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” -Marilyn Monroe