A little over a month ago, The Business of Boudoir co-founder and boudoir photographer extraordinaire (and my dear friend) Petra Herrmann told me she’d found a lump in her breast. Over the next month, she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer (for those in the know: ER/PR+, so the kind with a good prognosis). She endured a whirlwind of tests, including biopsies, ultrasounds and MRIs. She met with doctors who she’d never heard of before—a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist, a surgeon. She met with her nurse navigator, who has helped her navigate (literally) a complex system of getting health care coverage, finding support groups and keeping some sanity.
She also told her “littles”—her elementary school aged children—her oldest son (and baby grandson), and the rest of her family that she has breast cancer. She told us, her friends. And then she told the boudoir community. She has a ton of friends in Kansas City, where she lives, and around the world standing behind her.
On December 19, Petra had her first of four chemotherapy treatments in an initial round of treatment. Her next infusion is on Jan. 2, 2015. She’ll have another, more aggressive round in a few months, plus surgery (fingers crossed for a lumpectomy) and radiation treatment. She plans to work as much as possible during her treatment because that’s how she is. She has so much at stake, starting with her life, ending with her business.
If you know Petra at all, you understand that she’d almost rather smash her finger in the car door than ask for help for anything. She’s the giver. She and I started The Business of Boudoir to give back to our community. She runs her Level Up workshops to help other boudoir photographers up their games and create super-successful businesses. I can’t even list or quantify all the ways she’s helped me triple my business revenue over the past three years, all in an unspoken mentorship that has become a deep friendship.
I can report that she’s taking all of this—her diagnosis, her treatment, and the financial and other kinds of support—in stride and with much gratitude.
We’re raising money to support Petra
Just before Thanksgiving (which was Petra’s 44th birthday), I launched a GoFundMe.com fundraiser for Petra, with the aim of raising $7500 to help her offset her overhead and personal bills over the next six months. (She’s the lead breadwinner in her household.) That alone takes a huge weight off her shoulders. We busted that goal in less than 72 hours, so we increased our goal to $10,000. That amount will definitely take all weight off of her shoulders.
Today (Dec. 31, 2014) we’re just a few hundred dollars short of that $10,000 goal, and if we go over by a few thousand dollars (or more), well, the more the merrier.
Ways you can help
I know that you, dear reader, are likely inundated with requests to help one person/animal/cause or another, especially here at the end of the year. That said, I would love for you to make a gift to the Petra Herrmann Relief Fund. Every penny helps her, her kids, her family, her business and her clients. (Please note that this is not a tax-deductible donation. Talk to your CPA about financial/tax benefits for you and your business.)
- Make a donation to the Petra Herrmann Relief Fund
- Purchase massage gift certificates from her massage therapist
- Send her love notes in the comments here or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Read her blog and comment there: petraherrmann.com
- Email me to get her address to send fun stuff that will make her laugh, keep her cozy and keep up the fight
So far, I know of at least two photographers who will be teaching workshops in an effort to raise at least $5,000 for her. Watch this blog for details about that. Some of our contributors are talking about doing a donation-only workshop at WPPI 2015. Another photographer is donating one session fee a month to her campaign. Another is hosting a donation-only boudoir mini session to give her the proceeds.
The world is conspiring in her favor. Let’s conspire together to make this fight easier on her.