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You know what? F breast cancer!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But let’s be real: for so many women, breast cancer awareness is not confined to a month. It’s every day, and, for three F Project members, it’s what’s behind their businesses.

Breast cancer sucks. 

We’re really not about mincing words at The F Project. 

Given that breast cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common malignancy in women, it’s probably safe to say we all know someone who’s been affected by the disease. Mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, friends, partners, ourselves…it’s both a good and a terrible thing that, if you have breast cancer, or someone you love has breast cancer, you’re not alone. 

The F Project has three members whose companies were launched because they had joined the ranks of women whose lives were directly impacted by breast cancer. Undoubtedly, there are more who have just not chosen to share that part of their stories. 

To be clear, cancer never has great timing. But sometimes it’s ludicrously bad. Jenny Argie of Jenny’s Baked at Home heard the diagnosis shortly after she and her husband, with whom she had cofounded a different business, split up. Out of a marriage and a job, with three young children at home, Jenny became incredibly ill from the aggressive cancer and its therapy.

Given her experience in R & D for her previous business, Jenny set about educating herself on alternative treatments, soon focusing in on full-spectrum hemp. She experienced amazing results herself, and she knew she’d found her next career – creating full-spectrum CBD products for health and healing.

Evolyn Brooks was regularly putting in 12+-hour days in her career as a television producer when she was diagnosed. She had already been sensing that her work, while exciting and lucrative, might not be what she really needed to be doing. Her diagnosis and treatment forced her to take time off, and she realized a different path was calling.

Evolyn had always loved making things, and the focus that she found in making candles and pillows during chemotherapy helped still her mind and bring her peace.  After the life-changing experience of illness, there was no going back to the chaos of her former job. Evolyn founded In My Solitude LA to bring the wisdom of using creativity to focus the mind to a wider audience. 

Breast cancer doesn’t only impact the person diagnosed, of course. Ilana Eck, founder of Stylish Spoon, lost her mother, Renee, to the disease when she was only nine years old. 

Renee was an amazing baker, and Ilana would often help her mom bake for her family. After Renee passed away, Ilana found solace in using her mom’s baking tools. Mixing bowls, wooden spoons, and measuring cups all provided a sense of connection to her mom. 

Her love of baking led to a side gig developing recipes for various publications and creating a wellness lifestyle blog, all while she worked as an appellate attorney in New York. It was her own experience as a mom that led her to make the move to full-time entrepreneurship. 

Ilana’s infant daughter was sensitive to gluten, dairy, and soy, prompting Ilana, who was breastfeeding, to create a delicious, super healthy oatmeal muffin free of the suspect ingredients. After 250 orders poured in from a Facebook moms’ group post offering the muffins for sale, Ilana decided to make Stylish Spoon her life’s work.

Ilana is clear on her why of entrepreneurship. 

“For me, it’s motivated by the fact that my mom died of breast cancer when she was 46 years old…I want all the moms and dads and brothers and sisters and friends out there to be around for all the people that they love.”

For every single person who is or has been affected by breast cancer…power, peace, and courage to you all. We’re pulling for you!

Erika Szychowski

Erika Szychowski is the CEO/Founder of Good Zebra and the Founder of The F Project, a social impact project to raise the profile of female founders through collaborative commerce.
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