FARRAGUT, Tenn. — The owners of a new specialty cheese shop in Farragut are navigating their separate breast cancer diagnoses together.
Best friends Amy Burritt and Cheri Intveld were both diagnosed with the heartbreaking disease within months of each other. They both got the news in the midst of opening Euphoric Cheese Shop.
While the road hasn't been easy, they've gotten through with their faith and friendship, often looking at each other to say, "We're doing it."
Both women are always looking for hope, and never give up, whether it's behind a cheese counter or it's in an unexpected call.
Burritt felt a lump during a breast self exam, and Intveld encouraged her to get it checked. After months, mammograms and biopsies, her breast cancer diagnosis came.
"I remember crashing down on the phone, hearing the words from my doctor and just feeling like, okay, I didn't expect this, but now there's this whole path ahead of me," Burritt said.
The word "mastectomy" stung Burritt's ears in that phone call. Intveld was there to help her through.
A few months later, Intveld also felt a lump during a self check, but kept pushing off getting it checked.
"I just kept thinking, there's no way I could have breast cancer right after Amy had been diagnosed because it was within a year of her diagnosis," Intveld said.
Unfortunately, her suspicion came true. The doctor confirmed it was stage 3A breast cancer, a higher grade than Burritt's. It was a hard pill to swallow for the two women in their 30s.
Now, Intveld is on chemo and will continue treatment with radiation and surgery through the end of the year.
"We've shared a lot of things, I never thought we would share a cancer diagnosis, but here we are," Intveld said.
Friends for almost 20 years, the two took the fight in stride.
"I mean, when it was me, it was like, okay, this is my thing to get through," Burritt said. "When is someone you love, I think it's harder."
Burritt kept a blog through the whole process. She hopes to let others know they aren't alone, and offer that hope she's always looking for.
Now, both women have a community of support in Breast Connect, something they didn't know they needed.
"So many different survivors say it's a club you don't want to be a part of, but once you are in, it really is like a sisterhood," Burritt said.
At the end of the cheese counter sits a box waiting to be filled with messages for Intveld. Most of the people who write to her are strangers, but the support and encouragement is something she will never forget.
She wants to give back to the community who has given her so much, and be a light during a scary diagnosis.
"That's my goal is to try and love the community that I'm in," Intveld said.
Through faith, friendship and a whole lot of cheese, Burritt and Intveld are thankful for the lessons and support given during the disease.
Both women encourage others to do breast self checks and go to the doctor if something feels off. Early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer.
Euphoric Cheese Shop has only been open for a few months. If you would like to visit, it's at 139 West End Ave in Farragut, or you can go to their website at euphoriccheese.com.