“ Follow your heart and your dreams, pay it forward, and love life one day at a time.
Tere Holmes is one driven mAss Kicker! She co-founded Cancer Support Community Central Texas in 2011, is the president of Early Care and Education Strategies Plus, LLC, and is the Vice President of New Market Development for the Children’s Learning Adventure. We are very honored that Tere took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some “unique” questions for us!
mK: Thanks for doing this Tere! What/ when was your diagnosis? How did you find out about your diagnosis?
TH: I was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 7th, 2010. I was in my hotel room in Denver, CO on a business trip when I got that call.
mK: What were your symptoms?
TH: Found it in a mammogram
mK: Why did you get involved with advocacy?
TH: Throughout my treatment, I found that there were gaps in the support services available to men, women, young adults, caregivers, spouses, life partners, and other members of the patient’s inclusive family. There were services for breast cancer patients, but it occurred to me that the man with prostate cancer or the woman with a blood cancer and others did not have the same support and the awareness of their cancers was not as evident.
mK: Who is your hero?
TH: I would have to say that in the cancer space, my hero would be Robin Roberts.
mK: What motivates you?
TH: Paying it forward and making sure that everyone’s voice is heard.
mK: When was the first time you felt like yourself after your diagnosis?
TH: When my hair grew back in and I realized that I could rock the short gray hair that I now have.
mK: What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
TH: I laugh all the time because that’s my personality. I cry when I watch sappy movies, commercials, etc. Or when I see something that is really an injustice to people who are less fortunate. It takes quite a bit to make me angry, but usually it’s when someone isn’t honest.
mK: What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve done?
TH: I had the opportunity to camp in a volcano on the island of Maui.
mK: Very cool! What was the toughest challenge you faced as a survivor? How did you overcome it?
TH: Probably the toughest challenge is the little voice in my head that I hear when I have a headache, bone pain, etc. I have a fear that my cancer will return and that can be scary.
mK: I think that is a fear that A LOT of people deal with. Now time for the “fun” questions… What is your guilty pleasure?
TH: Red Velvet Cake
mK: Yum! What kind of hobbies do you have?
TH: I work nonstop on the development of the Cancer Support Community Central Texas. I won’t rest until we find a home and get the doors open on our space in Austin.
mK: What do you like to do in your spare time?
TH: I love to travel. I have six time-shares and I enjoy spending time in the locations where the time shares are: Kauai, Aruba, Marco Island, and Scottsdale
mK: What are you up to now?
TH: For over 35 years I have worked in early childhood education and been an advocate for children and families, I am currently the VP of New Market Development for a regional child care provider and I’m opening a new school in Houston.
mK: Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
TH: Don’t feel like you have to face cancer alone. Reach out. Also, be a receiver, when people ask what you need, tell them.
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
TH: I’m an open book, so I can’t think of anything.
mK: Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
TH: Follow your heart and your dreams, pay it forward, and love life one day at a time.
Tere Holmes: volcano camper, red velvet cake addict, world traveler, and leader in post-treatment “thrivership”. Thanks for doing this interview! Check out Cancer Support Community Center