Our Story | Kandice | Lindsey | Our Team

I remember running out of the gym, and Lindsey came running behind me saying “everything is going to be okay, and the team is rooting for you.” Before I knew it, I had to leave school, start chemotherapy treatments, and receive a bone marrow transplant. The good news was that my sister Kacee happened to be a perfect match, and this made all the difference along my extended journey. This was my second diagnose with cancer, and it returned a year after my first diagnoses.

After treatments and the bone marrow transplant, I came back to school where Lindsey and I continued our friendship. We would go to each other’s houses and talk about all the "stress" and "issues" we had in high school. At the end of senior year we both went our separate ways to college, and eventually lost contact. Years later, after graduation, we re-connected on a social network, and with a simple “Hey how are you doing? What are you up to? Are you married yet?", we caught up.

In 2009, I began to experience more complications. It took months to get results back but I found out that my cancer had reformed for the third time, and it was stage four Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma. The next thing I knew, I was also receiving a call from Lindsey, and she revealed that she had also just been diagnosed, but that hers was cervical cancer. I remember being so speechless that I actually had to take a seat. We spoke about everything for the next two hours, even about wigs, back pains, treatments, side effects, and doctors. At the end of our conversation I said, " Look at us we're just two PRETTY GIRLS WITH CANCER... let's start a group, and I will be President!" Lindsey’s response of course was “We can be the Presidents” and from that day forward we would talk about how we would run our organization and what we would want for all the pretty girls with cancer.

While we both were getting geared up for treatments, I decided to go to Philadelphia to receive a stem cell transplant after chemotherapy. Lindsey was also trying to find the best treatment for her cancer. There were days we would set up lunch or dinner dates, and either she would be sick, or I would be sick. Lindsey showed me how to start a Caringbridge page to keep everyone updated with my treatments. It was great seeing her journal entries (I would always comment) and she had a great sense of humor. Her entries were always uplifting even when she was in pain, defeated, and upset. She never left her page with a negative message!

After my stem cell transplant, (one month in the hospital and two weeks in ICU in Philadelphia) I was able to return back to Texas. I was told by doctors that I was in remission after several checkups. I spoke to Lindsey and told her “I had to kick this cancer's butt for the third time!" We both giggled but I felt bad since her treatments weren’t working and she was changing hospitals. I knew Lindsey was happy for me but I just did not feel right sharing my joy while she was still fighting. Lindsey's cancer was getting worse but her spirit was full of hope. She would text me and say “hey I'm not feeling good but I wanted you to know I'm thinking about you". I will never forget moments like that...even though she was sick she would text and email me.

Our last conversation was on a Sunday afternoon, and she had just started her hospice care at her parent’s home. I was so happy that she called me back. Our conversation will stick in my head for the rest of my life. She spoke about her wishes, her beloved blender she wanted from her apartment, and Pretty Girls with Cancer (PGWC). We always joked around and I asked her “Hey do you have a boyfriend yet?" and she always laughed. She knew her time was limited, and she told me to focus on PGWC, and in her sassy voice she said “since you’re the President". I told her I would do it, and it would be "glamorous" (my favorite word), and we continued to discuss other things we would do as if it was a "normal" conversation. The last thing she said to me was "Okay, someone just came, I have to go but I will let you know when you can come visit me next week... stay glamorous" To which I replied “I love you and you know I will”!

We never got the chance to speak again as Lindsey passed away the following week. When I found out, I was overwhelmed, and cried pretty much all day. To this day I think about her, my grandmother, and my brother who all died too young from cancer. They all were fighters and never gave up. Lindsey was a good hearted person, had a smile on her face, and encouraged others in her battle/journey. People tell me I give them encouragement through having beaten cancer three times, but Lindsey gave me so much hope and inspiration. Although she was not my best friend, she was a great friend to me before she passed because she knew everything I was going through, and in a way, we went through it together. I am keeping my word through establishing, moving forward, and making PGWC a great resource and organization for girls and women fighting all types of cancer. We both had supportive families and friends when we were sick, and now it is time for us to be there and support others going through the same things.

PGWC was just an idea between two high school friends and now it's my personal mission and a dream come true. Lindsey always said “Faith Creates Miracles" and may those words stay with everyone struggling with cancer, including survivors and their support system. Finally, we want to thank the Apostolo family for allowing us to share our story, and supporting PGWC along with every single person who donates to our cause allowing us to fulfill our mission to empower, educate, and inspire. Thank you and remember like the saying goes, "Strong is the new Pretty!!"

Kandice Rose | Co-Founder / Executive Director