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Shari Holt Headshot

'When We Join Together, We're Stronger Together'

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A few years back, an associate of mine told me that Estée Lauder provides employees' with free annual mammograms at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Whenever she scheduled her annual mammograms, she always encouraged me to book my appointment at the same time. One day in 2010, my associate called to book her annual appointment and then handed me the phone to book mine -- I scheduled it for the same day as hers.

I went in for my mammogram as usual, and the nurse stated that I would receive my results in the mail. A few weeks later, I received a letter from the hospital stating that they wanted me to come in for more testing.

I booked an appointment for the next week, but due to a scheduling mix-up I had a manager's meeting the same morning of the tests. I mentioned to my team that I needed to cancel my appointment, but they insisted I go. To my dismay, the test raised concern and I was instructed to go back to the hospital the next day for a biopsy. Just three days later, I got a call my from the doctor who told me I had breast cancer.

My Account Executive jumped into action and called our Regional Marketing Director (RMD) at the time. The RMD reached out to the SVP of Sales and Marketing at Estée Lauder, who contacted the Estée Lauder Global Brand President. I was deeply touched by the support and compassion that all the Estée Lauder executives demonstrated to ensure I received the best care. I knew with my family, friends and a supportive work environment, I was going to have the courage to fight for my life. These people were, and continue to be, my "Circle of Strength," and I'm grateful to each and every one of them.

I had a lumpectomy in December 2010; two weeks later, I went back for a follow-up surgery. The doctor informed me that he needed to repeat the surgery because my margins were not clean. One week later, I had surgery again and I am happy to report that I am cancer-free. I had radiation therapy for six weeks and all my tests have come back perfect since my last surgery.

I am very appreciative of the support I received from The Estée Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign, and that the Estée Lauder brand is supporting a Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) research grant that is developing a comprehensive care plan to help minimize side-effects of breast cancer treatment and ensure that breast cancer survivors recover as fully as possible to live healthy and vigorous lives. The theme of the 2013 BCA Campaign rings very true for me and so many people I know because "when we join together, we're stronger together!"