By Stephanie Graham Special to Published May 07, 2019 at 11:10 PM

At Steinhafels we are committed to helping our local communities in a variety of ways. Some causes are more personal than others. One of those is our support of local breast cancer research. It’s a cause that has been important to the Steinhafels family for years, and continues to affect our associates. The good news is, treatments are constantly improving, and YOU can help us in this mission.

Every year holds a special sale on Mother’s Day weekend - with a portion of sales donated to Susan G. Komen to be used toward research and local services for breast cancer patients. Those donations have totaled almost half a million dollars over the years!!

Our contributions are just a fraction of what Komen needs to continue its services across the state. Since 1999, Komen Wisconsin has invested millions of dollars into the local community - funding both research and vital services for women and men who are underinsured or uninsured. The fact of the matter is, no matter how hard we work, we will still lose loved ones to this horrible disease. At Steinhafels alone, we have lost several beloved members of our work family through the years. They are a big reason why Komen is so important to the entire Steinhafels family.

Steinhafels associates at the Susan G. Komen "More Than Pink Gala" 2019

Being a company of more than 800 people, we know that breast and other cancers have touched all of our associates. One of those associates is Jennifer Blochowicz, a Sales Associate at our Oak Creek store. Jennifer has been with the company for 19 years! Jennifer is an amazing associate. She also has breast cancer.

Jennifer recalls the day she found the life-changing news. "After I had scheduled a mammogram, I was taking a bath and I went to shave and felt a lump near my right breast. I asked my mother about it, and she told me how she had gotten checked when she was in her 40’s and we just have very fibrous breasts and that I shouldn't worry. So I was surprised when I was told that I actually had cancer. I know it sounds silly, but I didn't feel sick, just a little tired and achy. I was at work when I got the call. I stepped in the backroom and had a cry. I called my sister and my friend, and then I went back to work. I wanted the distraction."

Steinhafels: Do you have a family history of breast cancer, or any other cancers?

Jennifer: My family has had a history of a few different types of cancer. My sister had breast cancer two times. The first time it was a small lump that she had removed. Then it came back as a lump in one breast and a calcium deposit in the other. She chose a double mastectomy at that point. My Aunt Pat had mouth cancer two times, and my Aunt Susan had melanoma on her hands and arms. This January, my mother was caught at stage 0, which is a calcification of a duct.

Steinhafels: What has been your course of treatment?

Jennifer: I had a lumpectomy and a lymph node removed, followed by physical therapy, genomic testing, and now radiation therapy.

Steinhafels: What do you want to let other women know about breast cancer?

Jennifer: I will always do self exams monthly, and I recommend everyone else do the same. Take control of your own care, ask questions, and don't be afraid to make your medical providers explain themselves if you’re not comfortable with their recommendations. You have a right to find someone else. There are so many options out there now - it’s your choice who you pay to take their advice!

I also personally believe that mixing homeopathic remedies with standard treatment can create better outcomes for long term survival rates.

Jennifer receiving treatment.

Steinhafels: What has it been like, working through this?

Jennifer: Working with a diagnosis of cancer is very difficult. It's hard to stay focused on a sale when you when you are getting multiple calls a day to set up appointments to handle a disease you've got growing in you. Steinhafels has been very supportive during this time for me. I have been allowed to leave work whenever necessary - to handle appointments or if I just need to get away from work to take a deep breath and think.

I am so grateful we have such an amazing resource in our HR Department. HR Manager Andrea Kokott was so helpful in answering questions quickly and accurately. She saved me so much time and stress. I can't thank her enough.

Steinhafels: Why are Susan G. Komen and Steinhafels a good fit?

Jennifer: Susan G. Komen and Steinhafels work well together because Steinhafels has the ability to reach a much larger audience than the Foundation might reach on its own. Steinhafels donates a portion of certain sales events to the cause to support a community they have been a part of for 85 years.

Susan G. Komen and other groups offer support for people going through treatment, and raise research dollars to find a cure for breast and other cancers.These foundations can help bring relief to immediate struggles, like child care, gas money, or help with rent. I am glad to have an employer that is so invested in the communities they are part of.

A quote Jennifer wanted to share

Steinhafels: Anything else you would like to add?

Jennifer: I would like to make a request to all employers to be willing to step up and offer to allow staff members to have the day off in support of the Susan G. Komen "More Than Pink Walk" (September 22) without having to lose a day to participate. I also hope to see more businesses donating to the cause as a regular practice.

Thank you so much Jennifer for sharing your story of strength and survival!! You are an inspiration to us all, and a great advocate for the cause.

Steinhafels Mother’s Day Weekend Sale Details (runs 5/10-5/12):

  • Get 35-50% off storewide, plus a percentage of sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen for breast cancer research.
  • Doorbuster on Saturday 5/11!! Get a 2-pack of stainless steel mugs with the Komen and Steinhafels logos, one per household, while supplies last.