#SWAAYthenarrative

This Breast Cancer Survivor Helped Create The Perfect Support Bra

People

While Handful was getting off the ground in 2006, Cary Goldberg, a young mother of two girls discovered a lump in her breast. That lump turned out to be breast cancer. Over the next five years, Goldberg endured a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, biologic therapy, clinical trials, the removal of her ovaries and uterus and daily hormone therapy, the culmination of which finally rendered her cancer-free.


Cary Goldberg

At the five-year mark, she learned about Handful from a neighbor and finally found the answer to a five-year search for a bra that would fit her breastless form. Realizing that there were other modern, active, flat and fabulous survivors who would benefit from the Handful Bra, Goldberg went to work managing survivor relations.

Handful was founded by Jennifer Ferguson, a group fitness instructor and mother of two young kids. Ferguson launched Handful because she could not find a bra that could keep up with her active and energetic lifestyle. The Handful mission is to promote and enhance women’s self-esteem, while inspiring them to live out their fullest potential, regardless of what curveballs life throws their way. Over the last 10 years, Ferguson has transformed her dream of a better sports bra into a company with a flourishing product line (including tops and capri pants) that has attracted an increasing group of females who share a passion for helping women everywhere lead lives that exceed expectations.

From marathoners to CrossFit athletes to yogis, Handful products are praised by so many that the company has a team of “AmBADASSadors” who have inspiring and tear-jerking stories to share.

A fighter herself, Ferguson's path was not just sunshine and rainbows. “Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart,” she says. “While running Handful, I have experienced an unexpected divorce, single motherhood, and luckily, a second-chance marriage to the love of my life, Erick Maihack.” Jennifer explains how the network of women around her have been a positive force not just for support, but also as a team of women passionately fighting against challenges from breast cancer to sport injuries to running a business.

It’s been 10 years since Cary’s cancer diagnosis. Cary recounts in a personal blog post, “Ten years ago I wondered if I would live to see the kindergarten bus come to get my daughters, who were aged one and four at the time of my unexpected late stage three breast cancer diagnosis. Not only did I get to see kindergarten come and go, but now I have a freshman in high school and another starting junior high, and I'm completely out of the brutal wilderness of active treatment, no longer taking so much as a single prescription drug to stave off cancer's return.” In the post, Cary recounts her experiences about “the trip to hell and back,” and how eye-opening the statistics for breast cancer truly are. She writes, “I have also experienced here at Handful the cruel twist of statistical fate when the one in eight women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime just so happen to be three out of the 24 women who work closest with us."

Cary Goldberg

"Two of our sales reps and none other than our Director of Marketing, working tirelessly every day for a company that supports women with breast cancer…and then they get breast cancer!? It brings home just how prevalent this disease truly is and reminds us all that there will be many more among us who will face this same fate. We are here for you if the time ever comes for your number to be called, and we are counting on you to be there for the women in your circles to make sure you are there to support them because that’s what Handful women do. We support each other, no matter what life throws our way.”

As Director of Survivor Relations, Cary and Handful are proud to offer survivors the following:

Friends with Benefits — Handful is eligible for coverage through insurance if your local mastectomy provider carries us (tell them to carry us!)

Breast Friends Forever — Survivors who want to skip the insurance hassle are eligible for 30% off any full-price pocketed bra.

Flat and Fabulous — Survivors who have lost a breast to cancer and want to use Handful Lights Out™ Pad Sets as prosthetics get them for free with every bra purchased.

Handful donates a percentage of sales to the Young Survival Coalition, a premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. It offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.

On a lighter note, Handful isn’t about engineering workout wear that will shave five seconds off your PR, nor is it about creating a lacy number for gettin’ lucky (although if you manage to do either or both because of their product, good for you sister!).

The brand is about making apparel that makes you happy. Happy because it fits perfectly and feels fantastic no matter what you’re doing. Happy because the women who designed them thought of all the details, leaving you with one less thing to worry about. And happy because, by buying a Handful, you buy into a lifetime membership to their sisterhood of sass. This is all in line with their popular tagline, “Flatter, Not Flatten.”

And because it’s Mother’s Day Month, it’s fitting to offer Moms and all women a bra that will make them smile and help them tackle the challenges life brings along the way. Handful is pleased to offer 15% off all orders with code: SWAAY. Help Handful celebrate this special day for women and raise a glass to the ta ta’s. With product names such as “Worth The Monet,” “Lizard of Ahs” and “Chocolate Kisses,” and a “Love Your Shelf” tank – you’ll feel empowered every time you put on their products.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.