Missoula woman founds online business to support fellow breast cancer patients, survivors
A note on her desk with a few words of encouragement sparked Stacy Vetter’s drive to start a business founded on her successful fight against breast cancer.
In 2016, Vetter was diagnosed with a non-invasive, early stage ductal breast cancer, which was removed with a biopsy. Having worked as a dermatology medical lab technician for 12 years, she knew that she was lucky and knows her story is different from many others.
In December, Vetter launched an online gift shop, Time To Rally, which sells T-shirts, decals, bags, wall decor, cards, handmade jewelry and more for women diagnosed with cancer or who are in remission.
During her cancer treatments, Vetter said the small motivators and kind words from friends and family helped get her through it, and she wanted to mirror that inspiration through her products.
Her first collection includes her signature ribbon logo in various colors.
“In my experience, I had certain people that I worked with that would leave a little card on my desk or even just a little note or something that I could take with me that would remind me that people were thinking about me and supporting me,” Vetter said.
When she went into remission, she became a board member of Montana’s Silver Lining Foundation, a nonprofit focused on supporting breast cancer patients through their journey by training them to race dragon boats. The idea: to keep members healthy and promote sisterhood.
“You really do feel alone and isolated, and it can be a real whirlwind of appointments and waiting for the next part of the diagnosis and waiting for the treatment plan,” Vetter said.
The team is the state’s first breast cancer survivor dragon boat racing team, and the group has participated in competitions in Alberta, Canada, and Lakeside, Montana.
The sport involves 20 participants paddling 500 meters in a limited amount of time, providing upper body exercise that’s vital to breast cancer survivors. Her website also sells jewelry that sports a dragon boat racing paddle design pressed into precious metal clay.
“These gals really were my inspiration to start my business. They are just a group of really positive, health and wellness oriented people and we all just stay positive with each other,” Vetter said.
With support from her friends and family, she starting building a website and created her own workshop at home. Being diagnosed with cancer is an overwhelming experience, and she hopes her gifts can offer solace to patients.
“That’s what inspired me to make these particular gifts because you want to be able to look to the other side of cancer. You want to see that light at the end of the tunnel and be supported through that instead of people feeling sorry for you or scared to talk to you about your cancer,” Vetter said.