We are thrilled to announce our Moxiest Work Woman 2018.
Michelle is a woman, wife, mom, business owner, mentor and survivor!
In her words….
I bought an old hardware store 14 years ago with a vision of turning it into a bright, fun shopping experience. I had a young family, my husband and I had been married 6 years and we had a beautiful four year old little girl named Emma. We worked hard the first six months renovating, cleaning and remerchandising the store into what we wanted. We had a grand opening and things were going well, even if money was tight. My husband has a job away from the store, the hardware store has always been my thing, it doesn’t interest him the way it does me.
Six months after we bought the store, I felt a lump in my breast as I was getting dressed one morning. I was 34 years old, with a 4 year old, a new business, but my heart hit the floor as I had a feeling what it was. It took some testing, and finally an operation to find out it was stage 1, type 3, aggressive breast cancer. I had to have further lumpectomy, follow up testing to make sure it hadn’t spread, all the while trying to keep things relatively normal for Emma and my husband, and still run a new business. Everyone was scared.
I started chemotherapy treatments, luckily in my hometown as I live in rural Manitoba. I would always plan them for Friday afternoon so I didn’t have to be off work too much, trade my weekends, and be back as soon as I could. But I was so violently ill from the treatments, I had to be checked into the hospital the night before treatments so I could get enough fluids before my treatments.
Then came the 30 radiation treatments, these I had to travel 2 hours away to receive every day for 30 days. We have wonderful volunteer drivers who drive you into treatments and they would take me there and back every day so I could still run my business and see my family. It was a very difficult time as I was still receiving tests to see if the cancer had spread. It was tough to stay positive about it, my daughter was starting to have nightmares and wetting the bed, it was a long road. By the time I received my last radiation treatment it had been 8 months since I felt the lump. All this time, the business was going through the normal pains of a new business, cash flow, staffing issues, never mind having to face all that while I was bald and having post-chemo drip!
But I am thrilled to say, that was 14 years ago! We have since expanded our store to include lumber and building materials, we have joined Home Hardware as our buying group, and have learned so many wonderful things and met so many fantastic people, I can’t believe I have been given this opportunity. Now I like to mentor new businesses whenever possible, I coach a Dale Carnegie group on leadership and try to go on new adventures whenever I can. Next year I am going with a group of women to hike the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu in Peru
This year I was fortunate to have one of my long-term wishes come through and see my daughter graduate High school. When she was 4, I was given a 25% chance to live another 10 years, so I set a goal of seeing her graduate in 14, now that has happened! I have set some new goals for myself, ones that I couldn’t have even imagined 14 years ago! Life is great, and it is a gift and I live every day with that mindset
From our Chief Work Boot Wearer; Marissa McTasney
Thank you very much Michelle for exemplifying a woman of strength, bravery, integrity, perseverance, mentorship, love and of course moxie. We are so proud and excited to have you join our Moxie family of amazing Moxie Ambassadors. With love, excitement and honour, we are so happy to have you.
Love Marissa, my daughter & my Mom, Barbara, Josee, Franca, Karen, Karen, Maria, Debbra, Sara, Kathy and all of the people who make up a small part of the Moxie Trades community xo