Jewelry Campaign Encourages Women to “Keep Going”
Jennifer Potter, a jewelry designer from Key West, Florida, started a campaign around a piece that showcases women from all walks of life. The 14K gold necklace reads “keep going” and was designed to encourage all women who have been through struggle, whether with disease or eating disorders.
Potter had asked several of the women who have inspired this campaign to share their stories and words of encouragement. Proud2Bme was able to talk to Jessica DeCristofaro and Kassandra Perez, two women whose journeys embody determination and the strength of overcoming obstacles.
Proud2Bme: What is your story of strength, courage, perseverance and fearlessness?
Jessica DeCristofaro: In February of 2016, I was diagnosed with Stage 4b unfavorable Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After six escalated cycles of chemo, one relapse, three surgeries, two times losing my hair and 20 radiation sessions, I am finally in complete remission as of August 18, 2016.
Kassandra Perez: All my life, I've been big. As I got older, I struggled with depression, anxiety and self-mutilation. On October 31, 2010, at 15 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was put on two types of insulin and medication in the form of pills. For the first two months I wallowed in my own self-pity, feeling bad for myself. On New Year's Day 2011, I woke up with the will to turn my life -- and my health -- completely around. Unfortunately, due to my history of self-harm, my weight loss journey spiraled into bulimia. For four years I struggled with this, zig-zagging up and down on the scale. In the past year, I chose to work on loving and healing myself. I made a promise that I would not hurt myself for indulging, and that I would keep bettering myself.
Proud2Bme: What do the words “keep going” mean to you?
Jessica: In my book, keep going is the only way to do things. Crap happens in life, and we have two options: to sit and feel sorry for ourselves, or to "keep going." My motto throughout my treatment has always been to handle things and keep going.
Kassandra: “Keep going,” in short, means to live. It means to just keep pushing forward in life. Jump over life's obstacles, fight against the trials and tribulations and ultimately enjoy the ride. In the end, we're all going to end up the same. So in the meantime we might as well make the best of it.
Proud2Bme: How do you “keep going” forward?
Jessica: I always try to remain positive, no matter how bad my situation seems to be. I've found that I may not be able to control what life throws at me, but I can control how I react to what life throws at me.
Kassandra: Setting new goals. If I have achieved the goals I have set, why stop there? I believe that there is always an opportunity to get better or to try new things. Whatever it is, I always try to set myself to the task and work towards it. I don't settle when I am done, I just keep going.
Proud2Bme: What are some words of encouragement to inspire others?
Jessica: No matter what your situation in life is, God will never give you more than you can handle. So whatever it is in life that you are facing, keep going…you got this!
Kassandra: Imagine if someone were to tell you today that in five years, you are going to have accomplished something you believe is impossible. Something that right now, at this very moment, would make you think that person is out of their mind. Concentrate on that. Whether it beating an addiction or overcoming an illness -- anything. Now, understand this: if there is a will, there is a way. If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. Nothing is impossible; nothing is unattainable. No matter how challenging the journey will be, always remember to keep fighting. Keep going.