Aleah Hockridge Breast Cancer Fund
This Spring, at the age of 31, Aleah was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer – discovered through a self-exam. On March 24, 2015, days after her beloved Aunt Michele passed away, Aleah had a bilateral mastectomy. She will endure a year of treatment – chemotherapy followed by radiation – and then reconstruction surgery. Aleah has bills that insurance will not cover, including fertility treatments she underwent to preserve her eggs before she began chemo. In addition, because she works for a small company, she does not qualify for certain state disabilities that would have allowed her to take time off in order to recover. Currently, Aleah is managing weekly treatments while continuing to work full time. As one can imagine, it's becoming nearly impossible to keep up.
That's why we, her friends and loved ones, are here to help lift her up! All prayers, good thoughts and monetary donations are gracefully and deeply appreciated. We've set a monetary goal, but any money above and beyond her medical bills that is collected, Aleah will donate to Stand Up to Cancer.
Below are a few words about and some favorite photos of our friend, daughter, cousin, niece and overall favorite person – the one and only, ALEAH!
[The birthday girl!]
[Toddler Aleah – Her mom tells of stories when Aleah was a baby and she had no hair for years. She used to stick bows on her head using syrup so people knew she was a girl. Recently Aleah had to shave her head and now calls herself "Wiggy Azalea."]
Aleah is an amazingly warm, funny, kind and caring human being. She truly makes the world a brighter and happier place for everyone she comes in contact with. She loves children, cooking, animals and Saturday Night Live! She's the wonderful confidant, girls-night wingwoman and quick-witted gal pal you always want on your arm – especially when you're navigating the "mean streets" of Pacific Beach or college-area bars.
Aleah has encountered some bumps in road over the years. In 2002, she was in a near fatal car accident that required a year of recovery and leave of absence from San Diego State. However, she returned to San Diego, rejoined her college besties, graduated from "State" and began her career in the non profit sector.
Always the brightest light in the darkest times for those she loves, in 2012 Aleah moved home to Napa Valley to assist her mother and aunt who were both diagnosed with cancer. As life for her family in Napa returned to normal, in part thanks to Aleah's help, she returnd to San Diego. There, she also helped her boyfriend's mother through her radiation treatments for breast cancer.
In short, Aleah is an endless giver of love, joy, laughter and encouragement despite the fact that (by most people's standards) life has taken from her over and over again. She endures the bad, but doesn't let it get her down. Her smile and laughter helps her, and others, keep on keepin' on! She is an inspiration. Truly amazing.
Aleah's Mom, friends and loved ones
[Just a few of the ladies who love Aleah!]
[Aleah has been a bridesmaid in many of her friend's and family members' weddings. She's always the one people gravitate towards!]
[Aleah with her brother Blain, Mom, Grandma and Aunt Michele.]
[Aleah with her brothers and Dad enjoying some delicious tropical beverages!]
[Little Aleah with just a few of her stuffed animal friends!]
[The Hockridge kids rockin'!]
[Who got their boogy on with Ellen? These ladies! Aleah and her mom attended a taping of The Ellen Show in May 2014.]
Last Thursday, I had my LAST infusion treatment. My first treatment was way back in May of 2015, so you could say this has been a long time coming. Although the "heavy" chemo ended last September, these targeted treatments have been my faithful every-three-week companion for what seems like forever. Am I elated to be done? YES! But there is a surprising part of me that's also sad to be done. Now I don't have the crutch of treatment to make me feel safe. It's just me again, facing the future with a hopeful heart. I am relieved, I am grateful, and I am a little fearful. But isn't every big transition in life this way?
I am feeling good overall, my hair is growing back in, and I've had enough time to find my own peace in this bummer of a situation. I'd say I'm doing pretty well!
Today I also turn 33. The significance of 3 is not lost on me, it's the trinity, the triad, the triangle, providing a solid and sturdy foundation. It's past, present, and future. Each year I am more joyful to be having a birthday, to be looking toward a future. 33 feels good.
If you are reading this now, I want to tell you how much it's meant to me to have your support. In many ways I've felt like the luckiest girl in the world throughout this process...the support I've gotten has truly carried me through and has been a constant reminder of all the good in this world and in my life. Cancer sucks, bad things happen, but I'll always believe in the good in this world. I'm so happy to be here!
Thanks again, now and forever,
In honor of completing this phase AND Breast Cancer Awareness Month we're kicking things into overdrive for Aleah and her fundraising campaign. If you donate $20 or more between now and October 31, you'll receive a #HeyAleahWTF koozie! We'll monitor the page for new donations, but to expedite the process, please email your mailing address to Lesley Dupre (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she'll get your koozie shipped.
Thank you again to everyone for your generosity and kindness. Aleah definitely feels the love!
Today I am officially halfway done with chemo, woohoo! It's been physically and mentally taxing, but I try to focus on the positives: the quality one-on-one time I get to spend with friends and loved ones who sit with me during chemo, the fact that I have no weird lumps or bumps on my bald head, and the gratitude I feel that I have had no major complications or reactions to treatment. My eyebrows and eyelashes are waving goodbye, but the hair on my head is actually growing a little on this chemo regimen, so that's giving me hope! I'm reminded daily that I'm so much more than hair or boobs or the sum of my parts. Those things can come and go and I can still be ME, for better or worse ;)
I deeply feel everyone's thoughts, prayers, support, and every kind word that's been sent my way. It has kept me going through some rough times, and the gratitude I feel cannot be expressed by words. I've loved hearing from everybody!
Keep your fingers crossed that I make it through the second half of chemo relatively unscathed before it's time to start my radiation adventure!
Check out a ton of Aleah love by clicking the link below and don't forget to share your own #HeyAleahWTF photos!
The procedure to get her chemo port put in last week went as planned and by Monday, Aleah was feeling well enough to celebrate her birthday! Her restaurant pick? BJ's Brewhouse so she could get her hands on her favorite dessert - a PIZOOKIE!
Speaking of Aleah's birthday, the Wiggy Azaleah tank top has been such a hit - thank you to all the ladies who purchased one. We can't wait to see the photos on social media once they ship at the end of the month!
Guys! No need to feel left out - here's a shirt for you too! http://www.teespring.com/wtf-breast-cancer
The campaign ends on July 29th so get yours now and don't forget to share it using #HeyAleahWTF!
Hi Aleah! I'm Diane, a friend of your mom's. She and I met through our modeling gig for Reach For The Stars. She's shared your journey with me and I wanted to reach out and give you a great, big hug!! Much love and positive thoughts coming your way. You go, girl! WTF!!