November 2015 

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." -William Arthur Ward

 Okay, so it is the month of Thanksgiving, and our gratitude-themed newsletter is no doubt very predictable.  What you may not have expected to read is that gratitude is scientifically proven to be healthy, and for that reason alone is a great habit to practice year round!  Here at headquarters, an attitude of gratitude is a foundational part of our culture, and we try to infuse gratitude into everything we do.  I have noticed that people who choose to focus on gratitude for what they have rather than mourning what they lost or yearning for what they want are happier and a whole lot more enjoyable to be around too.  I say choose, because I really believe it is a choice.  (Not to mention, the article below says attitude is something we can all learn to cultivate. )

So what is there to be grateful about when experiencing a life altering event such as a serious illness, divorce, death of a loved one, bankruptcy or other significant negative event? A lot actually.  And I say that not to diminish or disregard the physical pain, mental anguish, fear, dread, loss, etc. that accompanies these events because those are real, and it takes time to recover or adjust.  But it isn't everything. Even when my Mom was in the hospital days before her death from breast cancer, I saw her eyes light up with joy when her four-year-old and seven-year-old grandchildren walked into the room. Even though my father lost the love of his life and misses her beyond words to this very day, he is grateful for the 37 years they had, and I am grateful that he found my stepmother to love for the remainder of his years.  I see many of our breast cancer survivors who have chosen to focus on the positive things that may have come from the diagnosis, such as new friendships, the outpouring of love they received from unexpected sources, and a new appreciation for life.  They acknowledge but don't dwell on the suffering, and these are the women who are living life with an !  I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv, but I say that gratitude is an important part of the healing process.

Google defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful, but they take it one step farther and add, "readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."  The breast cancer community is remarkable in that way - showing appreciation and returning kindness by helping other breast cancer survivors! It is powerful and heartwarming, and it's what Pink-Link is all about.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do what we live to do - to make this world a happier and healthier place by being a resource for women in a time when they most need to feel loved, supported, informed, and empowered.

Wishing you and your families a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving and beyond.

With hugs!
Mary Beth Gibson, Pink-Link Executive Director
Five Ways Gratitude Improves Your Life:
  • Gratitude improves physical health. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health.
  • Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Grateful people are more likely to behave in a prosocial manner, even when others behave less kind, according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky.
  • Grateful people sleep better. Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being.
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athlete's self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons.
A Fun Treat!

On Nov. 3, over 100 guests of our sister organization, Beyond Boobs!, were treated to an early screening of the movie "Miss You Already," starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette, at CineBistro in Hampton, Virginia! This film is about two best friends who cope with the devastating news that one of them has breast cancer - a story we know well at headquarters! Riverside (one of the great supporters of Beyond Boobs!) co-hosted the event, and a Riverside doctor was able to answer audience questions at the end of the film. Many thanks to The Montlake Group for reaching out to Pink-Link and giving us the opportunity to share this movie in Virginia, which premieres Nov. 6 in theaters. Click the picture on the right to see the trailer!

November Contest

We had so many touching, personal responses to our October contest that we sent every entrant a calendar. Thank you for sharing your stories with us!
This Month's Contest:

We have a copy of Andrea Hutton's new book, "Bald is Better with Earrings" to give away thins monthWhen Andrea Hutton was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to know everything. She voraciously read books, articles, and websites and talked to everyone she knew. But nothing prepared her for what the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation would feel like. "Bald Is Better with Earrings" is Hutton's answer for women diagnosed with breast cancer: a straightforward handbook, leavened with humor and inspiration, to shepherd them though the experience. Warm and down-to-earth, Hutton explains what to expect and walks you through this intense and emotional process: tests, surgery, chemo, losing your hair and shaving your head, being bald, and radiation treatments.

If you would like to enter our contest to receive "Bald is Better with Earrings," please send us an email sharing your top 5 things you're grateful for!
All responses will be placed in a big bowl in two weeks and the winning name will be chosen and notified. Good luck!
Many thanks to our sponsor


If you are looking for a way to help breast cancer survivors, consider giving to Pink-Link. You can donate now, or mail a check to:



1309 Jamestown Rd

Suite 204

Williamsburg, Virginia, 23185


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Breast Cancer News

Elephants rarely get cancer. Now scientists think they know why

It turns out that just 4.8 percent of known elephant deaths are related to cancer. For humans, cancer-related deaths are much more common - between 11 and 25 percent, scientists say.

The elephant's low cancer rate is particularly interesting because, all things being equal, elephants should get more cancer than we do. Elephants have about 100 times as many cells as humans, and they have a lengthy life span, about 70 years. That gives a lot of cells a lot of opportunity to mutate and turn malignant.

For decades scientists have wondered why elephants and large mammals in general are not more prone to cancer than smaller mammals are. The question even has a name - Peto's paradox. But new research may shed light on pachyderms' cancer-fighting abilities.

New breast cancer guidelines: screen later, less often

from  CNN

In a move sure to befuddle women -- and anger some breast cancer survivors -- the American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines saying less screening for breast cancer is better than more.

The venerated cancer organization says women should start getting mammograms at 45 instead of 40, and that everyone can skip the routine manual breast checks by doctors.

An exhaustive review of the medical literature shows these measures just aren't very effective, according to the group. "The chance that you're going to find a cancer and save a life is actually very small," said Dr. Otis Brawley, the society's chief medical officer.

This Month's Recipe:

Day-After Turkey Soup
 from the Food Network

That day will be here before you know it - that day when you have AN ABUNDANCE of leftover turkey in your fridge! Here's a solution - a recipe from Food Network that will create a delicious meal that's good for you.
Pink-Link is a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower women in obtaining a healthy survivorship of breast cancer. We provide an on-line support service for women; our website creates an intimate and personal link among the patient, survivor, friends and family, using an on-line searchable database, as well as other supportive services. The resulting connections give women the knowledge needed to promote life and enhance the quality of living with breast cancer.