Laurie Marcouiller is a mama of two and has helped run her family-owned business, Kaimukī Auto Repair in Honolulu for years. Laurie and I first connected through my sister, Yasmin, as they have known each other since college and Kaimukī Auto has been our family's go-to for all auto needs ever since we moved to the neighborhood in early 2000's. What makes
Laurie even more amazing? Her selfless love & giving to those around her. Back in 2016 when Yasmin's firstborn, Gialuca, was born, her breastmilk supply ran completely dry when he was around 6 months old. Laurie was the first mom who ever donated hundreds of ounces of breast milk to her, helping ease the stress of feeding Gianluca during his first year. When Yasmin had her next 3 children, she became a "super producer" of breastmilk and since then always paid it forward, donating what she could to mamas in need.
Back in October 2021, Laurie shared her breast cancer story with the world which began when she found a lump, was diagnosed, went through chemotherapy, had a lumpectomy, and underwent a series of radiation. Fast forwarding a year and half since publicly sharing her story, Laurie has successfully completed treatment and is officially in remission!!!
We were so honored and glad we were able to donate tees for her team for this year's Susan G Komen More Than Pink Walk. We had the opportunity to ask Laurie a few questions about her breast cancer journey and how she continues to bring awareness to others to help save more lives.
- You've been very vocal and open about your battle with breast cancer, from trusting your gut when you felt like something wasn't right, to going thru chemotherapy, processing everything with your kids, and celebrating remission. What is the one thing you want readers to take away from your story? After going through everything I have been through, the one thing I can tell you is having a village that backs you, no matter the requests, is going to get you through all the tough times, no matter how tough it may be. My family, friends, and even people I didn't know were there for me in all different forms. I had my family helping with my kids, our employees had to work harder to pick up my slack, our friends were dropping off waaay too much food and goodies for our kids, and I had more people than I know just saying prayers for me. I am not good at expressing my feelings, so I think trying to thank everyone for their help was actually harder than the cancer itself. That's how amazing everyone was. I would also have to say, having a positive attitude (or stubbornness) is the other thing that mainly got ME through it. Luckily, I had friends who went through all of this, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I told myself, I'm going to try and defy all the odds and not be affected by chemo. Chemo was no joke, but I was able to work (in moderation), I was still able to be active with my kid's school and sports, all while trying to stay extra safe during covid. There were people who had no clue I was going through what I was going through, until I came out in public (social media). This whole experience has honestly been a positive one...it showed me how strong I can be and how attitude can really make a bad situation into a great learning one.
- The way this experience has influenced your daughter is so inspiring as well! I remember reading on your IG a few years ago about how she wanted to donate her hair to support kids with hair loss. For those girls & women who want to do the same, could you let us know how you were able to donate her gorgeous locks and what that process was like? My daughter, Maddie, did her first hair donation at the age of 5. That was also her first real haircut. We explained to her that we would find a company that helps people who lose their hair (for whatever reason). Of course, she didn't understand at such a young age, but she did it and remembers the whole process from hair cut to mailing it out at the post office. Fast forward 2 years to her next haircut, she asked to do another donation, which we did. Fast forward to last October, she did her 3rd hair donation and she also got to see full circle what it does since I was wearing wigs. Whenever we did these hair donations, we always went to a professional, who we paid and found our own organization who we wanted to donate to. I couldn't recommend an organization, cause some stop taking in donations and some have different requirements, so it's best for the girls, women and even men (I have a male friend who does this too), to do their research and see which organization they feel most comfortable with.
- Your story has been so inspiring, I cannot tell you enough how badass and strong of a woman you are for overcoming Breast Cancer with such positive energy! Any advice you can share with women (and men!) currently fighting Breast Cancer? Early prevention is KEY! Women, do your self checks and go for your annual exams. I hate the doctors and have really bad white-coat syndrome, but I always make sure I go to all annual exams. I am not of age to start annual mammograms, so doing my own self exams is probably what saved me from having a worse prognosis. Same goes for men, make sure you do all your exams too, cause cancer doesn't care who you are! If you get diagnosed, the best thing to do is have a positive outlook, no matter what. I know it's easier to say, since I am able to say I am in remission, but I've talked to a lot of people who have to "live" with cancer and they say the same thing...all you can do is hope for the best. While I was going through chemo, people would ask how I can be so positive...and all I could tell them is, there are people worse off. We can't be afraid of the outcomes, cause if you wait too long, that might be the difference between life and death.
- We can't believe you were able to rally 70+ individuals for your team this past weekend!! You are a warrior! How did you do it and what motivated you to put this all together? So I counted all the people who came (on paper) and we had 80 (kids included) PLUS some who weren't "officially" registered on our team...I also had friends in NH and my brother and his girlfriend in Guam walking "with us." Last year, we had a customer come in and my dad was telling her about me and she just happened to be part of Susan G. Komen Hawaii. I got to talking with her and they did a virtual walk last year because of covid. I joined last minute and I think I raised about $5000, plus my husband's company donated another $5000. This year I signed up again, but didn't think I was going to walk since both my kids are both playing soccer and baseball (so technically 4 different schedules). It just so happened we didn't have any games, so I decided that I would walk. One week before the walk, I started sharing on social media and I texted my family, my friends, and our sports families. Even though everything was sooo last minute, they all showed up in support of me and it was truly amazing! I think it just goes to show that I surround myself with great people who truly care about my family and the cause! Next year, I promised everyone I would start planning ahead, but the reality of it is, I probably won't. I will, however, try my best each year to do this, because the whole purpose of this walk is to raise AWARENESS and raise money for those who need to focus on fighting cancer, rather than worrying about how they are going to pay for their treatments.
The More Than Pink Walk is over, but is there any other way our readers can donate to support Breast Cancer Awareness and Research? The walk is over, but I will continue to raise funds for Susan G. Komen during the whole month of October. If anyone would like to donate, they can visit my link and donate that way. I will also put a donation can at our business for people to throw loose change in, since every little bit helps. I do not get any of the donations, so we are raising money purely for others. Cancer treatments and constant doctor visits, blood draws, scanning, etc is EXPENSIVE! Even though I was able to work and pay for my medical bills, it is never ending, so I'm glad I am able to help in any way.
- If anyone would like to participate in future PINK walks with your team, what's the best way to contact you?! If anyone wants to join my team, near or far, you can find me on social media (@lauriemarcouiller) and dm me or if anyone reaches out to dolkii, you know how to reach me! If there is anyone who needs support or someone to talk to, please reach out to me as well. Since I've been diagnosed, I have talked to a handful of friends of friends and we've become friends and each other's support group. A doctor can tell you one thing, but hearing it from someone who is going through it or has gone through it, is very different and oftentimes much more helpful. Breast cancer is so common nowadays, so the more awareness that is spread, the more lives we can save!
More from Laurie...I would also like to say our biggest thank you to Dolkii for donating our team shirts! I contacted Shaiyanne on a Wednesday and received the shirts on Friday. All our females/mamas/and mini wāhine got a shirt and we all felt extra special, matching as one BIG unit! There were many who didn't know about Dolkii, but now they do and we love the company and what it stands for. You guys are amazing and we are all beyond grateful for you.
Besides being a great company with great intentions, the shirts are perfect for all shapes and sizes. My body just seems to be growing, ever since I was put in the menopausal state, back in March of 2021. If you ask anyone, I literally only wear my work uniform shirts, my kid's team's booster shirts and dolkii shirts! These shirts are great quality, cool enough to wear when going through hot flashes, and flowy enough where it doesn't show off my newly found curves. My daughter was so happy when she got her first Dolkii shirt, since that's all she ever sees me wear and now we can finally match.
Thank you, from The Breastie Bunch!