The MNY Spotlight

Meet Mary Everard from Mary&Crew: Photographer, stylist, wife, mom, and recent cancer survivor

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to recognize this vital period of information and education, we've partnered with Mary from Mary&Crew to talk about her experience as a recent breast cancer survivor. 

Introduce yourself!

Hi there! I’m Mary, the creative director behind Mary&Crew.  I’m also a freelance photographer, product stylist, mama to three, wife of film Producer, Ben Everard and recent cancer survivor.  I love a little whimsy, vintage furniture and glassware, traveling with our crew, loads of color and a thoughtfully curated home. 

Mary Everard of Mary&Crew

Mary wears the Valentina Gown in Vintage Coral 

You’re a young woman, wife, and mother to three kids, and received your cancer diagnoses at the start of a global pandemic. How did you cope with the uncertainty that was going on in the world and with your health?

I jokingly say that there is no better time to go through cancer treatment than during a global pandemic.  When I was first diagnosed it was frustrating to think of all the things I would be missing out on over the next several months.  Trips, dinner parties, hosting events, premiers, kids’ sports, the list goes on.  But shortly after my diagnosis, all of those things vanished, and we were able to focus on spending time with our family and never felt the stress of missing out.   Don’t get me wrong, it certainly did make other things more complicated.  Being immunocompromised during that time had its challenges. We had to be extra cautious; and doctor appointments, my surgery and infusions were done alone without my husband by my side.  We eventually got into a rhythm though and my hospital took all the necessary precautions so that I could continue to receive care in a very safe way.  Overall, it was an unexpected blessing for our typically on the go family.

You shared your fight against breast cancer through social media. Why was that important to you?

It was several months before I shared my diagnosis on social media.  I certainly had to take time to process it myself and start treatment.  Once we had a plan and knew that the drugs were working I felt a huge weight off my shoulders and opened up to the idea of sharing publicly.  I thought about it for a while and realized that if I didn’t share it, then no one would know my story and what we went through.  I hope that by sharing it has made an impact on someone else’s life and has given them hope or possibly encouraged them to get something checked out.  Early diagnosis is so critical to long term success with cancer. 

Mary Everard from @Mary&Crew

Follow along on Instagram at @maryandcrew

When you were diagnosed, you immediately altered your diet and lifestyle. Can you talk a little bit more about this, and if you still follow a strict diet/ exercise regimen?

Yes, absolutely.  It is certainly one of the most important decisions I made.  I cut out any type of inflammatory foods to help my body get through treatment.  This included gluten, dairy, red meat, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol.  I focused on anti-inflammatory foods (guided by the Cancer-Fighting Kitchen Cookbook) and it made a world of difference.  It helped with fatigue, nausea and immune support.  Exercise was also so helpful in keeping my mind in check and supporting my immune system.  I’ve eased back a bit now that I’m through treatment however I don’t miss refined sugar one bit and really limit inflammatory foods because you find that your body just operates better with really high quality, non-processed foods.  I love a good macchiato and glass of red these days!

You honored the end of the year and your path back to wellness with your family’s end of year photos. What were you feeling when you documented this moment? 

I wanted to show our children grace under pressure and beauty after the storm.  We have never told our children fully what I was facing and someday they’ll know and they’ll be able to look back at those photos and remember how we showed them how to handle adversity.  But for now, they just remember it as a fun day at the beach and that’s how we’d prefer it. 

Mary Everard from Mary&Crew fashion

Mary's end of the year photos with her family. Wearing an archived Mestiza style, The Azulejo Gown

Why was it important to you to get dressed up in a Mestiza gown? How did your Mestiza piece make you feel? 

I had purchased the Mestiza Azulego Bow Gown in the fall of 2020 with absolutely nowhere to wear it.  But I loved it so much.  I think that’s why it i’s so special to me.  I bought it during a very difficult time in our lives but I had hope knowing that there were brighter days ahead and that this gown would have a spotlight in our future.  It’s such a treat to wear another Mestiza gown a year later and reflect on all the wonderful changes we’ve been gifted.  The Mestiza gowns are so unique, feel so elegant have such beautiful colors and movement.  I could go on and on!

What is the biggest lesson / self-discovery you’ve learned throughout this journey? 

So many.  Mindset is incredibly important, you are your biggest advocate, your family is literally everything, your health is invaluable, perspective is such a gift, don’t sweat the small stuff.  I can’t narrow it down to one. 

Cancer Survivor Mary Everard
What is your best advice for someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? 

Be your own advocate and fight for the best team of health care professionals.  Look into clinical trials and meet with researchers if they are available to you.  Order the Cancer-Fighting Kitchen cookbook (whether you’re facing a health crisis or not, it is phenomenal!). Nutrition and exercise are extremely important and can carry you through.  Make friends with your nurses, they are so warm & knowledgeable and can be such a wonderful resource.  Open up and ask for help from friends & family. 

How long have you been cancer free?

I had my surgery in May of 2020 and finished my treatment in June of 2021. 

Why is it important to you to advocate for breast cancer awareness? 

I found the lump myself.  The only reason I went to see a doctor was because I had been made aware over the years (especially in October) that this was something to look out for.  I always thought that if you eat organic foods, stay away from toxic chemicals in your home/lifestyle, then it won’t happen to you, but cancer really does not discriminate.  In a million years I never would have guessed this could happen to me and it’s still a shock that I went through it, but catching it early was critical, which is one reason why I continue to advocate for broader awareness. 

What are you mostly looking forward to this year?

Everything! That’s the beauty of going through something like this. The world is your oyster after going through treatment.  I look forward to the simple everyday things like walking my kids to school, play dates, beach picnics.  Also very excited about the world someday getting back to “normal” and traveling to new places, especially with this new lens!

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