By Arthia Nixon, The Ambassador Agency
New Jersey, USA… Less than a year of being diagnosed with and battling stage 3 cancer, New Jersey mom Belinda Salley went from depression to designer and created a sneaker and clothing line to challenge others to “BCourageous”.
“Finding out I had breast cancer on November 23, 2020 was devastating,” says Salley. “One moment, I’m balancing my job, creating another career, helping my 19-year-old Darnajah navigate adulthood, attending my 16-year-old Dasia’s basketball games, and the next, I’m being told I have stage 3 invasive lobular carcinoma. Of course, no one is prepared for that news but I was determined not to give up and my prayer was ‘God, help me through and give me the courage not to fold but thrive.”
Thriving for Salley came in the form of creativity especially when she found herself at home looking for things to do to keep her mind off of the reality. She told her inner circle what was going on and then went public on social media, journaling her doctor visits, her pains, her body changes and her desire to support others battling illnesses. She began noticing people telling her she was so courageous for pushing forward in the comments.
That’s when Salley decided to create a few products for her supporters to wear such as t-shirts, giddies, caps and masks. She took it a step further and came up with an athletic shoe.
“I got the vision from my social media tribe to call it BCourageous which is a combination of using the first letter of my name and the word courageous,” explained Salley. “I never thought I would be diagnosed with breast cancer, but then again I never thought I would use my time in chemotherapy thinking of designs for shirts or shoes, but here I am.”
Salley had a mastectomy on March 10, 2021 and after 16 rounds of chemotherapy, she rang the bell on September 13, 2021. On October 4, 2021, she went back to work full-time and has no plans of slowing down.
“I’m writing a book on my cancer journey based on my social media posts,” she said. “Other than that, I am working on BCOURAGEOUS LLC and of course raising my two girls. They were truly there for me, my mother was there for me, my village was there for me… A cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to be the end. For me, it ended up being a beginning.”
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