Wisdom. Selflessness. Conviction. Courage. These are just a few characteristics that extraordinary women possess — and that so many women in the iVillage community exemplify. The ones we have chosen to highlight today are born leaders. And although we want to say the world simply wouldn't be the same without them, on the contrary, the world would be exactly the same. But instead, with their guidance, it is changing for the better.
Michele (Mic) Anderson
Mic is a wife, a mother, a survivor of both her husband's deployments and her own battle with breast cancer, as well as a source of encouragement and laughter for everyone. In fact, her husband was deployed when her battle with breast cancer first began. Members of the community helped her through her diagnosis, treatment and surgery like they would have done if she had been their own sister, and she shared each step of the process just as openly. Through it all, it became apparent that Mic can deal with anything life throws her way. After a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, she is now in remission. She has yet to schedule her reconstructive surgery, however, because she says she's enjoying her chance to not wear a bra.
--Submitted by Angela Keck, Love & Sex Senior Community Moderator
Lauren Sue Masoero
Lauren Sue, a young mother of five — her youngest is just a month old — is successfully battling Parkinson's disease. She was diagnosed in October 2001, but she soon found that the medications she needed to take to keep the disease under control were a primary factor in causing her recent significant weight gain. Knowing that exercise is important for Parkinson's patients, and intrigued by a late-night commercial for Pilates, she began doing it daily and within a month had lost 20 pounds. As her weight continued to drop, her strength increased and the Parkinson's symptoms quieted down, Lauren Sue decided to share her story with Winsor Pilates. They were intrigued by a young woman using Pilates to deal with Parkinson's and invited her to make a commercial for them. Lauren Sue has since become a spokeswoman for Parkinson's disease, attending conferences when she's able and volunteering her time to support others with Parkinson's, as well as educating the public as to the symptoms and treatments available.
--Submitted by Cindi Klein, Health & Well Being Senior CM
Danni considers volunteering her time and energy her way of life. She loves it and doesn't see it as sacrifice. She met her husband when they were both volunteering for a marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation facility in California. They logged many hours in the truck together, traveling to remote beaches to respond to calls of seals, sea lions or dolphins in distress. When they left California, she was distraught to leave the seals behind, but she quickly got involved in another organization: She now focuses on raptors, song birds and the occasional small mammal.
As the community leader for iVillage's Debt Support Group, Danni gives support, encouragement and practical strategies to help her members overcome their financial woes. She says, "I know that the road to being debt-free seems at times too long, too tough and too much trouble. Please remember that once you make the commitment to yourself that you will do this, nothing can stop you. You're tougher than the journey. We all are."
--Submitted by Patricia Timmermans, Home & Food/Main Senior CM