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Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a worldwide annual campaign to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education, and research. We’re honored to feature our newest gift partner, Stage, and the amazing founder behind it all.
Stage was founded by Virginia Carnesale — breast cancer survivor, wellness enthusiast, and information activist who’s on a mission to create a community and shopping destination around breast cancer. During her journey battling Stage 2 breast cancer, she was shocked to realize that the breast cancer conversation only happened every October.
Virginia launched Stage to be a resource, support system, marketplace, and wellness destination to see the modern woman through this uniquely personal journey. She learned so much through her own research, trial and error, and from other survivors during her battle with breast cancer — everything from what to expect physically and emotionally, to which products mitigate side effects, to how to tie a turban — that she wanted to pay it forward for all women who may lack the same access to information and support.
We sat down with Virginia to learn a little bit more about her journey. Let’s get to know her:
Givingli: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you started Stage?
Virginia Carnesale: I’m the founder and CEO of Stage, a shopping and wellness destination for breast cancer patients, survivors, fighters, and friends. I’m a survivor myself and have spent my career working in retail. My experience as a patient inspired me to give back by simplifying the shopping journey for others and creating a community to share knowledge, tips, and support — because there is a lot to figure out and no one should have to do this alone.
G: What has been the most rewarding part of starting your own business?
VC: Meeting so many fellow survivors who have started their own brands and businesses to help other women through the breast cancer journey. And also the positive feedback we get from our customers and the breast cancer community! It feels good to know that we’re helping make the journey just a little bit easier for other women and their supporters.
G: What is your favorite item on shopstage.co?
VC: We have so many great products on our site, it's truly so hard for me to choose. But I would say our leopard print pleated cotton turban from Style Esteem. I had one just like it when I underwent treatment and I always felt so chic wearing it.
G: Which card on Givingli is your favorite and why?
VC: Sending A Virtual Hug by Adelfi. The fonts and colors are beautiful and during my breast cancer journey, I needed a lot of hugs! It’s nice to know someone is thinking of you even if they don’t have the right words to say — plus, who doesn’t love a good hug!
G: What motto do you live by most?
1. Just do it. As a first-time business owner, I’m trying a lot of new things these days! It's nerve-wracking at times but empowering.
2. Having cancer taught me to let go of things that don’t serve me. Things I worried about in years past, seem insignificant to me now. The experience gave me a new perspective.
G: What was the most valuable lesson you learned while battling breast cancer?
VC: Greater empathy for others and learning to slow down. It made me realize you truly never know what’s going on with other people — they could look fine but have a health crisis going on behind the scenes. Speaking with other patients gave me great perspective and helped me understand how fortunate I was.