Today we’d like to introduce you to Shay Moraga.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
It was New Year’s Eve of 2015 life was going great until I felt a very uncomfortable pop in my right breast. After doing a self-breast exam I felt a lump. It was hard and round. Almost immediately the words Breast Cancer came to mind, but I was young, I was healthy. I at all organic and did yoga how could I have breast cancer? The next week I called my doctor who ignored my calls for almost three weeks. I had to keep calling back and leaving messages to tell her that even though she had just seen me I knew deep inside something was very wrong. Finally, I was able to get in to see her. I could tell by the look on her face she was concerned as she felt the lump and tried to ease my fears that it may have just been a hard cyst. She immediately got me into see a specialist and a few days later and that it was confirmed at my first ever mammogram that I was going to have my first biopsy as well a day later. They could not confirm it was cancer yet, but they told me they had never seen a vascular mass of this size before without something going on.
As the week went by it would soon confirm that I had stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. On February 11th, 2016 I heard the words no one wants to hear YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER. This started a yearlong of 20 chemo treatments, surgery and 38 rounds of radiation. My family, friends and community wrapped me up with prayers and love. I was blessed beyond measure with the support of strangers. On Dec. 1st, 2016 I was told the cancer was gone. I was free, no evidence of disease! I learned so much from my friends in the chemo room that year. But no one could prepare me for what happens in life after cancer. No one tells you that after you are physically declared good to live your life, that mentally life after cancer is another story. It is where the real healing of PTSD and trauma begins. After looking all over for services in my local community, I decided to figure it out on my own and help others. I healed through my yoga, my mediation and the stories of connection with others like me.
Our stories were different but the same. The same fears, anxiety. The same sleepless night and nightmares of reoccurrence. I got away went to a retreat and soul searched. I realized that my stories helped others. I realized that when ZI shared my stored it helped others – it gave them HOPE. I realized that the stories in the chemo room were stories of HOPE for me and when we share these stories creating a ripple effect for others we heal. It was then that Shay’s Warriors – life after cancer was conceived. A non-profit that will help other women who have gone through breast cancer to share, to get real with life after cancer and the fears that still surround us. Shay’s Warriors is an annual retreat to help us connect share and heal mind, body and soul.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Life after cancer is never a smooth road. Cancer is a word in my household all the time now. Especially when its blood work and scan week. I am on this never-ending roller-coaster hoping that I never come to the cancer stop again. As much as you want to go back to your life before cancer it really puts your life in perspective. You are more grateful with the time you GET TO have with friends and family. You don’t stay mad a stupid stuff for very long. You really tighten up on that circle of friends you have and where you spend your energies. This can be big challenges because when you don’t do things as you once did or hang around the friends you once had there is more loss. You must work through that loss, just like the loss of your breasts or the words that a doctor tells you that you will never have any more children. There is also the loss of your friends who do not get to go home from the chemo room or never hear those words of no evidence of disease. There is a guilt behind being a survivor. Each day you just learn to work through it.
We’d love to hear more about your organization.
I have been a business owner most of my life, Co-founding an investment property management company at the age of 22 with 2800 units in 3 states. To starting a mobile a yoga business, Namaste with Shay, because I wanted to find balance and peace in my type A personality, to re-learning to teach yoga to cancer patients after going through cancer myself. To founding a new Non-profit called Shay’s Warriors. I am most proud of the work I do in the cancer community. Which ironically is my specialty now. Shay’s Warriors is a community that connects mid body and spirit in life after cancer. We get women from all over the world that reach out to connect with us to talk, to do the yoga, the mindful breathing, to listen to the music or podcasts to read the blogs. Shay’s Warriors has a huge tribe of women on the board and on our committees that want to also help that have also been touched with cancer and we do all of this by volunteering. None of us get paid.
Every dollar we raise goes back to a survivor to give her a day at the spa or a makeover. Helping her feel good again or just because. We want these women to know they are not forgotten. That we understand even though the cancer is not present in their body that we know it is still a fighting battle in their head and we see them, we hear them, and we are there for them. We are in this together with them! We are bringing 30-40 women together this summer for our annual retreat and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to see the magic that will unfold and see the friendships that are going to happen. Shay’s Warriors talks about life after cancer authentically, we talk the hard conversations and help educate loved ones on what it is still like on our blog, social media, our podcast and radio show. We have some planned workshops and community connection days too. That is what sets us apart from others.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I do not know that it is luck – but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and a purpose. For me, I was given the strength to get through cancer and learn. I was given a second chance to change my life, my mindset, and in some cases let go of heavy things that I carried with me for many years. Cancer helped me in a lot of ways because it put precious moments into perspective. Call it luck if you want that I had an open mind and heart at that perfect time in place to learn through cancer. To take such a traumatic experience in my life yet turn around and help others because I was inspired to do so by their determination. Who is the lucky one? I get inspired by warriors everyday – fighting to live life in hope! Yeah… I guess I am the lucky one because I get that second chance at life.
- Website: www.shayswarriors.org
- Phone: 760-895-1705
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: shayswarriors
- Facebook: Shay’s Warriors – life after cancer
- Twitter: Shay’s_Warriors Life after Cancer