Steinhafels is constantly looking for new and unique ways to partner with the community for various projects and events. While we donate money to a variety of causes, we also like when our wonderful furniture can serve a higher purpose. After all, furniture helps to bring families together, and a good piece of furniture can last for generations!
That was the case with the American Cancer Society of Southeast Wisconsin. They approached us and asked if we could help with their Relay For Life events this summer. Steinhafels and ACS brainstormed, and we came up with the “Purple Survivor Couch” idea. The purple couch traveled to several relays, and served as a symbol of survival and hope.
Check out our PURPLE COUCH SURVIVOR STORIES if you haven’t seen it!
In addition to being a comfy place to pop a squat during relays, the purple couch was also part of a Giveaway to help raise money for Relay. Many survivors and other relayers entered the contest.
The lucky winner was announced at the big Kenosha Relay for Life event. Cancer survivor Nancy Brey is now the proud owner of the purple couch!
Nancy lives in Twin Lakes and is a retired nurse. As you will learn, her cancer journey is a very unique one.
Nancy is 65 years old. She’s a wife to husband Steve for 45 years, a loving mother to 3 sons, and doting grandma to 13 grandkids! She’s a retired nurse, and says she has lived a very blessed life… but things could have been very different for Nancy. You see, she is also a 54-year cancer survivor!!!
The oldest of 6 children, Nancy grew up on a dairy farm in Paris Township in Kenosha County. She was a typical kid…until she turned 11, and everything changed.
”This was towards the end of my school year. Everything I ate came back up, and I knew something was wrong,” Nancy recalls.
A tumor had formed in Nancy’s small intestine. She was diagnosed with sarcoma of the small intestine, now commonly known as colon cancer. Nancy admits, ”It was scary. I didn’t find out I had the cancer until I was older. You didn’t say the ‘C word’ to people back in that day.”
Nancy’s parents chose surgery only, and no cobalt therapy. Although Nancy doesn’t remember much about that time, she is thankful to her parents and the medical staff that took care of her.
In fact, Nancy was so thankful, she decided to pursue a career in the medical field. She started as a medical assistant, and eventually became a Registered Nurse. Nancy’s primary role was managing the Hospice House in Kenosha. ”To see all those people go what they go through, and being able to be there… the greatest reward is being able to help the families and patients go through this journey they are going through. That has been the most rewarding of all my career,” she says.
Nancy has also taken part in the Kenosha Relay For Life for many years. She wants to support fellow cancer survivors, and honor those who have lost their battle, like her cousin’s son who died of leukemia. She is honored to see the thousands of people who come out for Relay events. “This is out here, we have to cure this. That’s why it’s so important.”
She is excited to be the new owner of the Steinhafels Purple Couch! She says it’ll be helpful when the family comes over. Nancy and her husband recently hosted a big sleepover for the grandkids, and the purple couch came in handy! ”Steve said this is very cozy, and the grandkids think it’s cool. We had a ball–had a good time.”
The local chapter of the American Cancer Society is proud to share stories like Nancy’s…and there are so many more amazing stories to tell!
“If you’ve ever heard the words, ‘You have cancer,’ you are a cancer survivor. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement celebrates every cancer survivor in every community,” said Kelly Candotti, Corporate Relations for the American Cancer Society. “We’re grateful to Steinhafels for joining with the American Cancer Society to celebrate 1,325 survivors at 40 Relay For Life events this year in southeast Wisconsin.”
Nancy knows we still have a long way to go in the fight against cancer, but she hopes as her grandchildren get older we get closer and closer to finding a cure, thanks to events like American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Nancy gets a little emotional as we finish our conversation, and says simply, ”I’m just blessed I’m here. That’s all I can say.”
Relay For Life events in Southeastern Wisconsin raised $1,715,299 this year.
See more inspiring Relay For Life pictures HERE!