"I aspire to INSPIRE before I expire." Barbie Ritzco, Co-founder
In Memory of Barbie Ritzco
Barbie Ritzco, co-founder of FLAT & fabulous, passed away on September 26, 2014. She will be tremendously missed by everyone who knew her. Barbie never gave up and her determination and strength was a constant encouragement to many people. She was devoted to helping others, spreading her message to keep on - she worked with fellow marines, the BRCA and breast cancer communities and FLAT & fabulous.
"We tend to think we are protected and immune to things because we are given a weapon, a FLAK jacket and a Kevlar helmet. I spent most of my time taking care of the troops that were under my charge, a completely selfless duty that most service members don't take lightly. I would lay my life down for them. That is what happened in this case, just not in the literal sense. I wasn't willing to accept the lump in my left breast that became so obviously larger to me over the weeks that quickly turned into months. I sacrificed my own health and life as long as I could in order to stay and deploy with my unit. Leaving my troops and my unit behind was, and still is, harder to deal with than my breast cancer diagnosis."
Image by David Jay, The SCAR Project
Her story, her words. An inspiration and source of encouragement for many.
This is a video Barbie created sharing part of her journey. Although Barbie was private, she strongly believed in sharing her story to help others. She wanted people to know they should never stop pressing forward and encouraged others to strive for more. She was determined not to let cancer stop her from living.
To view, you will need to copy the text below and paste into your web browser. Barbie had this video set to private - when I visited her in Walter Reed, I mentioned how beautiful it is and asked if I was able to share and she gave me her permission.