Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A special ELLIE for Katie...

Like many others, Jen and I have been on the sidelines of the Breast Cancer fight thru the years. We’ve known women who have been affected by the disease, but it’s always been just a step or two outside of our immediate circle of family and friends. That changed for us both this summer when a dear friend received her diagnosis.

Katie Weiss Torres is only 36 years old and had no history of breast cancer in her family. Jen and I remember talking after she found a lump this spring. Surely it would prove to be a simple cyst; we all agreed she was too young for it to be cancer. But the biopsy came back and showed us we were wrong. On June 1st of this year Katie was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma - Breast Cancer.

Katie had a bi-lateral mastectomy in mid July and is currently undergoing aggressive Chemotherapy treatments to tackle her cancer once and for all. Her current treatment plan has her continuing Chemo through the end of this year.

Katie has always had a great sense of humor and is an amazing storyteller. The consummate hostess, she always feels the need to make sure everyone is having fun, enjoying themselves, included in the conversation. And while she’s trying to work on focusing on herself now vs. taking care of others – it’s amazing to see how she commands and lights up a room even when she feels sick. Her strength, humor, honesty and grace continue to shine brightly and it is apparent to all who know her that she is passing these traits on to her three-year old daughter, Lulu. Lulu is bright, charming and sassy, exactly like her mom.

When cancer affects someone you love there can be such a sense of helplessness and frustration. You want to be able to do something to help in the fight. Jen and I are no different and wanted to come up with a way to offer our support to Katie’s fight. We decided we would ask her to design a bag and then donate the proceeds from its sale both to her and a charity of her choice. Katie chose the ELLIE tote and designed one in “Voila”. This bag will be sold online for the duration of her Chemo treatments, with $15 going directly to Katie, and another $10 going to Young Survival Coalition.

Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful. Working with survivors, caregivers and the medical, research, advocacy and legislative communities YSC strives to ensure that no young women is left to face breast cancer alone

We hope you will join us in supporting our friend and other young women diagnosed with breast cancer. You can view and purchase "Katie's bag" here. Thank you!

-Jen Velarde, 1154 LILL Studio founder and president
-Robin Newberry, 1154 LILL Studio vice president

p.s. - The photo of Katie at the top and the photo collage were both taken by another friend who is an amazing photographer. Check out Bridget Stern's website at


Anonymous said...

Katie is beautiful and so is this bag! I can't wait to wear this bag and encourage my friends to wear it as well! Great job supporting an amazing woman and a worthy cause. Kudos!

Kathryn said...

Katie has been such a blessing in my life the last year and change. Anything I can do to support her fight against cancer (and to follow her fantastic fashion sense) is alright by me!

Anonymous said...

Katie is a fighter! She will beat this!