I spent the first twenty years of my career in an industrial manufacturing environment, running around the hamster wheel as fast as my legs would carry me. My breast cancer diagnosis jammed on the brakes and forced me to put life in perspective. My journey since breast cancer has been focused on making a positive difference in the world. Stepping off the hamster wheel has brought greater harmony to me and my home!
I wrote my memoir "Losing the Girls: My Journey Through Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy and Beyond" to entertain as well as spread awareness of this surgery choice. The follow-up, "The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones" is Part 2 of my Breast Cancer Series. This booklet is HELP and HOPE in a time of need.
Recently published "A Healing Haven - Saving Horses and Humans at RVR Horse Rescue" formally launched my Lemons to Lemonade series of inspirational 'triumph over tragedy' true stories. I'm currently working on the third installment.
"Like" my Facebook page to stay tuned!
Learn more about my mission on my website: shirleyalarie.com.
What’s the story behind your latest book, A Healing Haven?
When I began to explore possibilities for my next writing project, I was drawn to an “animal” theme. I pursued an opportunity to write about a small therapeutic horse ranch and was disappointed when the project fell through. However, a couple of months later, my husband was reading about my recently published breast cancer guide, The Road Paved in Pink, in a local newspaper insert. When he turned the page, he discovered another article featuring a heartwarming story about a horse rescue ranch. “Where’s that?” I asked him. Neither of us had a clue. In the year since we’d moved into the neighborhood, we’d never heard of RVR Horse Rescue, but it was within five miles of our home in Riverview, Florida. The following week, this urban-girl showed up on the ranch to muck stalls and fill water buckets, all in the presence of majestic and beautiful thousand pound creatures – completely foreign and frightening to me. But it was the type of opportunity I had dreamt of since my childhood.
RVR Horse Rescue is a non-profit organization run by an army of volunteers. Their mission is to intervene, rescue, rehabilitate, and provide sanctuary for neglected, abused, abandoned, and traumatized horses. I quickly realized was a legitimate and amazing haven of healing and approached Shawn Jayroe, the founder and owner, about her interest in writing her story. To my delight, she accepted immediately. Like so many others, Shawn had always intended to write her story, but hectic daily demands kept taking precedence.
Where did the Lemons to Lemonade Series originate?
No story hooks me more than real-life adversity that first crushes me with hardship, then brings me to tears of joy at the remarkable outcome. After all, who doesn’t love a happy ending? I was pleased and humbled that readers felt inspired by my memoir, Losing the Girls, and the term “Lemons to Lemonade” popped into my mind and stuck. I had been trying to find a purpose for my writing - a platform that felt meaningful and could make a difference in people’s lives. The Lemons to Lemonade notion morphed into a plan to write a series of uplifting ‘troubles to triumph’ novels, called The Lemons to Lemonade series. I envisioned the stories serving inspiration to a world so filled with negativity. Losing the Girls was the first installment, then I went in search of another amazing story to tell.
As a breast cancer survivor and a woman who nearly had surgery without understanding all the surgical options, I have created a video to increase awareness of this aspect of breast cancer. I would bet that 99% of women will learn something new from this 11 minute experience. Please check it out and share if you feel it's worthwhile!
Discover the magical effect the beautiful equines of RVR Horse Rescue imprint on their caregivers, blurring the lines of who was saving whom. Enjoy the riveting saga of Shawn Jayroe and her Horse Angels who are tackling equine neglect and abuse one desperate animal at a time. A Healing Haven is an inspiring true story and a reminder that it is in giving that we receive life’s greatest blessings.
The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones will educate and support those reeling from a recent diagnosis. This booklet provides the comprehensive guidance needed to withstand the challenges ahead. The Road Paved in Pink is HELP and HOPE in a time of need.
Delve into the breast cancer journey and beyond in Losing the Girls, a unique memoir differentiated by the author’s cutting-edge nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM)―a little-known breast cancer surgery technique that leaves the breast completely whole. Shirley Alarie shares her story to boost awareness of this specialized procedure so women facing mastectomies will know all of their options.