Interior Designer Diane Sharp was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer in November 2012. Over the course of the following seven months, she underwent a lumpectomy, followed by a double mastectomy and chemotherapy treatments. The treatments lasted for four-and-a-half months, and Sharp characterizes those as some of the hardest days of her journey, “It was a pretty dark time, a time when you reassess everything in your life. You’re isolated because you don’t want to be out and about, and you’re not feeling well.”
It was during those difficult months that one of Sharp’s professional connections turned out to be a tie to a unique resource that would be helpful as she endured struggles related to her cancer diagnosis and treatment. Just prior to diagnosis, Sharp resigned her position at Sisson Design Group, but she continued in her role as a design instructor at a local college. In the process of assembling a product showcase for her students, Sharp contacted Crossville architectural sales representative Monica Farley, and it was through Farley that she learned about The Common Thread for the Cure.
The Common Thread for the Cure, a non-profit organization, was established to unite the furnishings and interior design industry in the battle against breast cancer. Common Thread offers Helping Hand Grants to those who are, or whose immediate families are, affiliated with the furnishings industry and currently battling breast cancer. The support the grants provide is practical, resulting in tangible, meaningful ways that industry peers can show their care and concern for colleagues who are in times of crisis. Crossville is a year-round supporter and sponsor of the organization, offering a percentage of its sales of Glass Blox and Origins Glass tile collections to support the cause.
Inspired by the information Farley shared, Sharp applied for a grant to help with the costs associated with lost wages, medical supplies, and prostheses. She shared her story through the Common Thread website application process and, shortly thereafter, received an email informing her that she had been awarded a grant. Says Sharp, “Just knowing that the furnishings industry has an organization like this is so heartening. It really touched me.”
Sharp is eager to tell her story in hopes of expanding awareness so that the Common Thread might serve as a lifeline for more professionals in the industry. From her own experience, she explains that often, by the point at which cancer patients are undergoing treatment, they have resigned from their jobs and are out of contact with the outside world. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals learn about Common Thread before it is needed. “If you don’t know about it before your diagnosis, you aren’t likely to hear about it when you need it the most,” she explains.
Today, Sharp is cancer free and grateful for the assistance, both financial and emotional, that Common Thread provided, “The program was such a surprise, so unexpected. It really touched me,” she says.
For Sharp, the Common Thread truly became a tie that binds.
For more information about The Common Thread for the Cure, to apply for a grant, or to donate to the organization, visit the website.