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Meet Sheri Mathis of Mammogram Poster Girls, Shop Eat Drink PINK!, and Volley 4A Cure

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheri Mathis.

Sheri, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It’s been eleven years since I heard those dreaded words; you have cancer. I am a mother, wife, grandmother, sister, and daughter. I am also a (now) two-time breast cancer survivor–though I much prefer breast cancer conqueror. I am a (self-described) Mammogram Poster Girl.

My mission is to raise funds for the early detection of breast cancer, and mammograms for those unable to afford them.

In 2007, a mammogram revealed a small mass, and I received a diagnosis of breast cancer—this just a few months after my sister, Karla, had completed her final chemo treatment for breast cancer (also diagnosed following her annual mammogram). I consider myself one of the lucky ones—my cancer was minuscule, visible only via that invaluable mammogram. Diagnosed early, I underwent a lumpectomy and radiation, and back in action. I had a new mission; to create a sisterhood of Mammogram Poster Girls, enabling more women to afford mammograms, leading to earlier diagnoses and, hopefully, better outcomes.

From the time of my sister’s diagnosis, I participated in breast cancer awareness fundraisers, but most were geared toward research, rather than early detection. So in 2009, I created Volley 4A Cure, an event at the Canterbury Episcopal School, where my children attended. The mission was two-fold: to raise funds for mammograms for those unable to afford them, and to raise awareness of the importance of early detection among the high-school-age women participating in the event. What began as a low-key volleyball game between two local schools eventually grew into statewide volleyball tournament. The event continues today and has raised over $75,000 to date.

In 2013, my youngest sister, Leslie, was diagnosed with breast cancer—again, found during her annual mammogram. That made it three-for-three among my sisters and—with no genetic link and very little family history of breast cancer. Because each of us was diagnosed early via mammogram, we’re each still here to tell our story!

After my youngest sister’s diagnosis, I felt the need to do more and I partnered with the Bishop Arts merchants and restaurants (especially Denise Manoy, owner of Indigo 1745 who encouraged and supported my crazy ideas). Together we created Shop Eat Drink PINK!, an event to raise awareness and funds for the early detection of breast cancer. The fifth annual Shop Eat Drink PINK! was held on the first Thursday in October in Dallas’ hip and historic Bishop Arts District. Generous merchants and restauranteurs have adopted the Mammogram Poster Girl’s cause, hosting the Methodist Health System Mobile Mammography bus, donating a percentage of sales, throwing parties, conducting to a huge raffle, and contributing a portion of the proceeds of the district’s October Wine Walks to Shop Eat Drink PINK! To date, Shop Eat Drink PINK! has raised more than $62,000.

In 2014, I was (yes again) diagnosed with breast cancer, and although it was found early by mammogram, she and her doctors decided to take aggressive action. I had (what I like to call) my front-end re-do, including a double-mastectomy, and complete reconstruction. The first surgery was on February 5th, my birthday, which I now refer to as my re-birthday (and I hold a birthday party for the “new” girls).

Since that day, I have doubled her efforts to spread the word about mammograms and early detection, expanding Shop Eat Drink PINK! to include a VIP pop-up dinner produced hosted by Chef Justin Holt, a Wine Walk, music by DJ EZ Eddie D, and a style show presented by local merchants. We now also hold a Shop Eat Drink PINK! the event annually at Hillside Village in Cedar Hill.

This year, with the encouragement of a dear friend, we are working to create Mammogram Poster Girls, Inc., a non-profit to raise awareness and funds for the early detection of breast cancer and mammograms for those unable to afford them. Our first event will be held on (you guessed it) my birth/re-birthday, February 5th.

I remain healthy, active and passionate about my mission. I’ll be forever grateful to my mammogram providers. The best part? More than 200 patients at Methodist Charlton’s Breast Health Center have been helped to afford their mammograms, early detection procedures, and breast health education with funds generated by Volley 4A Cure and Shop Eat Drink PINK! (Bishop Arts and Hillside Village).

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’ve been knocked down by breast cancer twice, which I guess you say put a couple of obstacles on the road. It was sometimes difficult to struggle through (I did throw myself at least two pity parties), and physically it was tough, but the overwhelming love and support I received kept me going and inspired me to be that person for someone else. I’ve always said, it’s much easier to be the one who has “it” (whatever illness or hardship it might be) than it is to be the one who loves them helplessly standing by…

As for our mission of fundraising? Who the heck is going to say no to the Mammogram Poster Girl who has conquered breast cancer twice?!?

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Mammogram Poster Girls, Shop Eat Drink PINK!, and Volley 4A Cure– what should we know?
Mammogram Poster Girls, Inc., through our Shop Eat Drink PINK! and other fundraising events specializes in raising awareness of the importance of, and funds for, the early detection of breast cancer and mammograms for those unable to afford them. We are known for Shop Eat Drink PINK! and throwing amazing parties, wine walks, and dinners to celebrate life and our important mission to help others.

I am most proud that we’ve helped so many women (and men) join the ranks of the Mammogram Poster Girls—funding early detection initiatives, mammograms and education for more than 200 patients at Charlton Methodist Breast Health Center to date.

What sets us apart? We are focused on early detection, and addressing the immediate needs of local women and men, and we are hyper-local, donating the funds raised to local hospitals and imaging centers.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Those who have volunteered, supported, cajoled, pushed, pulled (sometimes dragged) and provided a shoulder or an ear deserve all of the credit for what’s been accomplished by Volley 4A Cure and Shop Eat Drink PINK!

My husband, James, my children, Sarah, Erin, and Tyler, and my sisters, Leslie and Karla, have all been there through it all, My mother, Judy, cheered me on, kept me going, and volunteered at every event until her death in 2014,

My dear friend Amanda Lake, is the driving force behind the development of the Mammogram Poster Girls. She has encouraged me, building my confidence to push me out of my comfort zone to do even more for those in need.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Elliott Munoz Photography

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