Almost four years ago I met one of my closest friends for margaritas after work. When I arrived she looked to be in pain. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she’d be having some pain in her back and hips. Not totally out of the ordinary given that she is a runner and Ironman. But by the end of the evening, she was having a hard time even moving to pick up her drink. After a bit of a discussion, she decided/I convinced her to take herself to the ER. I offered to drive her, but being the stubborn lady that she is, she refused and said she wouldn’t be long and if someone needed to come to get her that her mom was on call. We said our goodbyes, I gave her a gentle hug, reminded her that I was just up the road, and off she went to the ER. I checked in with her throughout the night and she told me they were giving her some drugs for the pain, running some tests, and that her mom should come to get her because she shouldn’t drive. She promised to keep me updated and I went to bed. Little did I know that things were going to majorly change over the next few hours.
The following morning I headed out of town for a long weekend. When I hadn’t heard from her I finally decided to reach out again. Worried that she might be asleep or resting, I sent a text. That was when I found out that it was cancer that was causing all the pain. Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer to be exact. WTF?! I didn’t even know what to say. Or do. Or feel. She wasn’t even 40 yet. How could this be happening??
Over the next 6 weeks, she went through day after day of radiation treatments, oral chemo, and her first of many surgeries. She went through hell. Her family went through hell. Her friends went through hell. I remember asking myself on a daily basis “How is this happening?” The prognosis wasn’t good and we were all preparing for the worst. When she found out that the cancer had gone into remission we all celebrated. The joke that “tequila saved her life” was told and retold that night, but it was the truth. We were supposed to meet somewhere else and we changed at the last minute. Changed to a restaurant that was literally BLOCKS from the hospital. My friend admitted that if she hadn’t met up with me that night, she probably just would have gone home to some wine and her couch. Who knows where she would be if that had happened.
So where is she you ask? Well, we are almost to the 4 year mark and she is still here. She’s still going through hell daily, but a different kind of hell. She’s living her life to the fullest she can and we are all enjoying the extra time. Sometimes I even have to remind myself that she is sick. But she is sick and she always will be. This isn’t going away for her.
I asked my friend if I could share this snippet of her story. Not because she wouldn’t want me to, but because she is not a fan of the pink craziness that goes on during October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On the last day of September, she posted an image that really hit home.
All the pink in the world and fundraising walks and pink football cleats and fancy displays in the stores aren’t going to change things. Everyone knows breast cancer exists, but what are they really doing about it? This brings us to the second part of my post. Shuman Farms and their breast cancer awareness program.
Shuman Farms is a sweet onion grower, packer, and shipper in southeast Georgia. For the past 13 years, Shuman Farms has distributed special, pink RealSweet onion bags, display bins, and POS to support breast cancer awareness. Since 2009, they have donated more than $110,000 to organizations working hard to find a cure. This year, they will be honoring those impacted by the disease while working to educate consumers on the cancer-fighting nutrients found in sweet onions.
I like this promotion because it focuses on prevention and the cancer-fighting nutrients found in sweet onions. And they are a little company. Not some huge corporation using this as a way to make themselves look better or as a tax write-off. Shuman Farms, like many farms, focuses on sharing all of the benefits of fruits and veggies on a daily basis. In this case, they happen to be talking about the cancer-fighting benefits.
I love cooked onions, so when I had two beautiful bags of sweet onions show up on my doorstep I knew I had to get cooking. The first thing I did was bust out one of my favorite recipes that I hadn’t used in awhile. I fell in love with this Ground Beef Taco Skillet when I did Whole30 the first time. I just left off the cheese and it was Whole30 approved. I also swap out the ground beef for ground chicken or turkey because I’m not a huge fan of red meat (especially if I have to cook it myself).
I love this dish and could eat mountains of it, but you would not believe the difference these sweet onions made. Normally I use fewer onions than recipes call for, but this time I should have just kept on adding them. SO YUMMY!
With it being football season i’ve been thinking of all the other fun things I could make with the onions. Next up is Alton Brown’s Onion Dip. My bestie raves about it and I can’t wait to try it. Then I think I’m going to pickle some of the onions and even try to make some bacon onion jam. The options are endless and I can’t wait to continue cooking!
*Disclosure: I was provided with the sweet onions and compensated for my post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.