After her diagnosis, Michelle Stec and her family decided to honor her journey by fundraising for BCRF.
It was two days before Christmas. For Michelle Stec, a 38-year-old mother of two, this was typically the time she would be making last minute purchases for her young children before Santa’s big arrival. Last year, it was different. On December 23, she learned she had breast cancer.
“Everything changes once you get that diagnosis. Nothing is ever the same,” she said.
Stec and her husband Jason decided to wait until after the holiday season to break the news to their children, six-year-old Mikayla and 11-year-old Dillon.
“We wanted them to have their Christmas,” she said.
Soon Stec was undergoing chemotherapy. During this time, her husband Jason along with the baseball team he coached decided to organize a fundraiser in Michelle’s honor.
“I was speechless,” she said recalling the moment when they approached her with the idea.
The two-day event in April brought together four high school baseball teams to create the Strike Out Cancer Classic, held at Maple Shade High School in New Jersey.
“It was just an amazing time,” Stec said. “They all came together to do this for research.”
Stec, who has been a hair stylist for Ulta Beauty for nearly a decade, knew exactly where the nearly $5,000 in funds raised should be donated to.
“BCRF immediately came to mind,” she said. “After participating in Ulta’s Cut-A-Thon’s year after year, I knew it was a great organization that donates directly to research.”
A BCRF corporate partner since 2009, Ulta Beauty has donated over $18 million for lifesaving research. The company’s ongoing dedication to breast cancer research creates a workplace culture where women like Michelle feel supported and empowered.
“Everyone has been so supportive,” Stec says describing the phone calls, errands and acts of kindness her coworkers and clients have done during this difficult time. Her children have been her heroes, too.
“They are my strength,” she said.
Stec says her belief in the power of research is stronger than ever before.
“Research is so important for future generations. I would never want to see my kids go through this.”