Mary Ann LeRay

Inspired by Courage

Mary Kay Independent Senior Sales Director Mary Ann LeRay cherishes the many life-changing relationships her Mary Kay business has brought her. In the spirit of giving back, she uses her business as a platform to help end cancers effecting women – and specifically to advocate for those with metastatic breast cancer.

One of the biggest blessings that has come from my Mary Kay business is having the privilege to cross paths with so many extraordinary, dynamic people who are determined to create positive change. My customers are remarkable women and men who have a lifelong impact on me.

My friend and customer Virginia “Beth” Fairchild has particularly touched my heart. Beth is a mother, wife, daughter, friend, business owner and an artist who added fearless fighter and breast cancer patient advocate roles to her life. In May 2014, Beth was in the prime of her life at 34—her marriage was grand, her two daughters were amazing and her career was soaring. Things could not have been better.

Then she underwent a hysterectomy to remove bilaterally enlarged ovaries. Two days later, Beth was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC), meaning that breast cancer cells had spread to other parts of her body. A specialist gave her the devastating news that even with treatments, statistics suggested she had approximately two years to live. She persevered through the overwhelming shock of her diagnosis, healing from surgery and 18 weeks of chemotherapy—then set out to take back control of her life.

Determined to create change, Beth taught me to rethink what cancer really looks like. She tenaciously demonstrates what it means to be living with cancer—not dying with cancer. Motivated by purpose, she works passionately using social media and local and national events to educate about metastatic breast cancer, advocate for patients, and raise awareness and funds for additional research.

Beth embodies a warrior princess. I am in awe of what she accomplishes as she uses her prognosis to give back and help others. She reminds me that life is so very precious; it is essential to focus on living each and every day. Being in Beth’s space has awakened my thinking. Because of her sharing her profound appreciation for even the small things in life – the smell of a jasmine bloom, the smiles from a child – I’m more appreciative of all that is happening with me and the people around me.

Beth continues to touch and inspire countless lives. In her words, “I will NOT allow cancer to beat me, because even in my death, there will be life … and hope."

Through the funding of proper research, we could potentially turn metastatic breast cancer into a chronic illness versus one that is terminal. With the support of organizations like The Mary Kay Foundation, I believe we can make great strides in this area. This is GIANT step in the right direction. I hope and pray this happens in my lifetime.

The legacy I leave behind will live on in the way I live now, in the life lessons I teach my children, and in my advocacy work. If I can enlighten another who is uneducated about breast cancer, or be of service to someone in need, or maybe my story will move someone to see a doctor or to have a scan or mammogram. If I can help save just one person, then I will have served a greater good.

I encourage all of us to take good care of ourselves, help those facing cancer and do all we can to end women’s cancers by supporting the work of The Mary Kay Foundation and other focused efforts.