"I think her personal story inspires others," said Laura Ponticello as she sat in the basement of Jennifer Tom's Fayetteville home last week.
The basement doesn't look like an ordinary basement, though. It is lined with tables which are stacked with pamphlets, bags, boxes and an assortment of prizes for Pink Cow Bingo for Breast Cancer, a fundraiser to benefit Positively Pink Packages that is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday Oct. 17 at the red barn on County Line Road, near the corner of Andrews Road in Skaneateles.
Tom, the face behind Positively Pink Packages, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 at 32 years old. Following her diagnosis and subsequent treatment to rid her body of the disease, she began Positively Pink Packages. When she was ill, the resources she wanted and needed were not readily available, nor put together in a convenient way so as to find what she was looking for.
Positively Pink Packages, a not-for-profit organization, brings all of those resources together in neatly packaged totes and boxes for others diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Besides providing information and resources, I hope we're providing hope," Tom said over a steaming mug of coffee.
After her diagnosis, Tom began "absorbing" as many books as possible about cancer and the fight that had been laid out in front of her after being told the disease was in many of her lymph nodes. Two of the books that helped her through -- "Fighting for our Future," a text for younger women like Tom, and "There's no Place Like Hope" -- are both put into packages for women who are diagnosed.
She would carry a copy of "There's no Place Like Hope" in her purse and read various passages every day to inspire her.
One passage that gave Tom an exorbitant amount of hope and inspiration didn't come from a book, though. It came from her surgeon. After going through biopsies and receiving the pathology report, Tom still remained positive -- an emotion she exudes to this day.