By Flora Posteraro – Jennifer and I met in 9th grade and we became instant friends! We did everything together, went everywhere together-even dressed alike. We tried out for school musicals together and when I became a Bethette (pom pom girl), I urged Jennifer to try out too. It didn’t go well but at least she tried. We just clicked and to this day, we are still the best of friends. I am very loyal.
2000 was Annus Horribilis for both of us. My husband and I decided to separate. As horrible as that was, Jennifer’s news was much worse. I will never forget that call. Jennifer had breast cancer. She was only 36 years old. No family history. No explanation. At the time, Jennifer’s boys were 15 months, 3 and 5 years old. She feared she was going to die. She feared her boys would grow up without a mother. I feared I was about to lose my best friend.
In true Jennifer style, she fought hard and now has no evidence of breast cancer! Jennifer also turned her pain into something very positive. In 2005, Jennifer and a partner founded the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation (YWBCAF). She has devoted her life to raising funds to help other young women battling breast cancer and has never taken a dime. She does it because she cares. She does it because she wants others to know you are “not too young” for breast cancer.
In the last 14 years, Jennifer has raised more than $400,000! From concerts to silent auctions to receiving proceeds from the sale of pink ribbon bagels at Panera, Jennifer has worked tirelessly to raise money while offering educational and emotional support and comfort to young women who think they are in this alone. They are not. They have my best friend. She is very loyal. Maybe that’s why we clicked.
So here we are, 19 years later. Jennifer and I both survived Annus Horribilis. We are not victims. I’m not a victim of divorce and she is not a victim of breast cancer. We are survivors. Every year, we try to get together with our 2 other besties from high school, Susan and Diane to celebrate life and celebrate our friendship! We laugh, we cry, we eat too much and stay up too late. On our last trip, we all bought the same friendship bracelet. I know it’s goofy but I wear mine almost every day. It makes me smile and reminds me—I still have my best friend.
For more information on the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation or to donate, go to https://ywbcaf.org.