In The News
Breast cancer survivor's business helps others find ways to support. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month Team Pink Package has launched a campaign "By Survivors for Thrivers"
Minneapolis, Minnesota — When Katy Smith felt a swollen lymph node underneath her arm, she went searching for answers.
After five months of misdiagnoses, six scans, three mammograms and three biopsies, which were all clear, Smith went to Mayo Clinic. On Oct. 1, 2018, doctors there diagnosed her with occult breast cancer — a rare type of breast cancer that is difficult to detect.
She started treatment on Thanksgiving Day. About four weeks later while her husband was having an emergency appendectomy, Smith was sitting in a hospital waiting room feeling hungry due to chemotherapy the day before.
Kare 11-NBC Sunrise
Founder Katy Smith shared her journey and launch of Team Pink Package by request of Susan G. Komen MN with an NBC affiliate network feature promoting Breast Cancer Awareness in October 2019
Minneapolis, MN. — October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and we’re sharing stories of hope and perseverance -- as proof that we can and will one day defeat this disease.
A Burnsville woman has one more surgery before she leaves cancer in the rearview mirror. She’s now helping others who are fighting cancer, too.
Katy Smith is a wife and mom of two. She remembers some of the few times she cried on her journey to beat breast cancer. One specific memory comes to mind; the time she told her small son about how far she made it in her recovery.
“I could say that I was better to him and he gave me the biggest, strongest hug that he could because I was better and he didn’t have to be gentle with my owies anymore.” Smith recalled.
Smith was diagnosed about a year ago thanks to a gut feeling. Smith discovered a lump near her arm pit that was swollen and sore. Her doctor was aware of her family’s history of breast cancer. Still, Smith was told not to be concerned. After a visit to a surgeon, Smith was again told everything was fine, but she wasn’t convinced. She made the choice to get the lump removed and tested – an elective procedure.
It turned out that her gut feeling was right. Smith was diagnosed with cancer, but doctors were stumped about what kind. “My pathology report was inconclusive essentially, so it didn’t come back saying yes, you have breast cancer,” Smith said.
Smith took a trip to the Mayo Clinic after the initial surgery. That’s when Mayo doctors discovered a tiny, 7-millimeter breast tumor close to where the lymph node had been removed.
“When I learned I had breast cancer, I had a weird sense of relief and I think that was because I knew for sure what it was. My sister had gone through it and so I felt like I knew to some degree what to expect.”
Smith worked a full-time job while going to chemo every week. Her husband, Jacob, is still in awe of her attitude towards treatment saying, “She absolutely is a fighter. She took every day one day at a time, which was impressive to see. You know, she never really let it get her down or beat her emotionally. I think that was a big piece to help you know, get through.”
Read the full story here.
She called a friend, asking for food.
"I remember her sighing and just saying, 'Thank you for giving me something to do because I've been thinking about you and I just haven't known what to say or do.' So it was in that moment that I realized all of these people who are thinking about you during a challenging time, it's not that they don't care or don't want to support you — they just don't know how," Smith said.
Smith decided in the fall of 2019 to launch "Team Pink Package" — a gifting studio with curated, artisan gift packages for all occasions. A majority of the vendors featured in the packages are BIPOC and/or women-owned small businesses from across the country.
"Most of these businesses give back to other nonprofit initiatives too. So your purchase is supporting a lot," Smith said.
The business has also expanded, working with corporations and even realtors on closing gifts. Every purchase of $75 or more results in a care package being donated to a woman going through breast cancer treatment.
"I left a full-time job recently to pursue this full time because it just brings me so much joy in being able to support other women going through a challenging experience," Smith said.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Team Pink Package has launched a campaign called "By Survivors for Thrivers."
It features curated boxes from women who have gone through treatment, including Katy's sister, Emily Hedberg.
"She also had breast cancer in her 30s. It was about nine years ago at this point, but I remember going through that experience. I went to every chemo with her, and similarly, we found a mission to give back to other women going through treatment. We started making bracelets, anonymously gifting them to women going through cancer treatment," Smith recalled. "So there seems to be this theme for our family whenever there's a tough challenge, we always focus on ways to spread joy."
Read the full story here.
Best in Small
Featured by Cratejoy, ranking in the top three newest on the scene care packages for Holiday 2019
Founder Katy Smith came up with the idea for Team Pink Package, a care package for loved ones who need support during hard times, from her own experience. At the age of 33, she was diagnosed with a very rare form of breast cancer.
“I was overwhelmed with gratitude by those who stayed with me throughout my breast cancer journey,” Katy says. “I know there were many more who were thinking of me, but didn’t know what to say or do.”
If that’s you right now, Team Pink Package is a way to show that you care and support the person struggling when you don’t have the words to express how you feel.
“We believe that people inherently want to help when challenges strike, but rarely know what to say or do. Pink Package takes that hesitation away,” Katy explains. “I wanted to create a light from what could have been a very dark experience and help others in the process.”
Though Team Pink Package is made up of cancer survivors, this gift isn’t only intended for loved ones dealing with cancer. Katy hopes that customers use Team Pink Package to “send doses of encouragement” to your loved one “so that she has something to uplift her spirits during a difficult journey – whether it be health-, work-, relationship- or loss-related.”
To that end, Team Pink Package offers two *subscription options: the Encouragement Box, specifically geared to women going through chemotherapy and curated by cancer survivors, and the Inspiration Box, intended for women going through a challenging time in their lives more generally.
When sourcing products, Katy says, “We consult with national support groups and leading physicians to ensure that [all] items we put into our box align with our mission and values.”
Both box options are curated to be a well-rounded self-care experience each and every month, from journals and inspirational exercises to jewelry, artwork, wellness products, and beauty items from independent artisans and makers.
*Subscription options are no longer available. Packages are available as one time, immediate purchases.