Listen to our latest episode in the player here, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts.
In this episode, join us as we dive into the remarkable journey of Chrisie Canny, who turned her personal pain into a powerful purpose. When Chrisie lost her father to cancer two decades ago, it ignited a spark within her to make a difference in the lives of others facing similar challenges.
After experiencing the devastating effects of cancer on her own family, she embarked on a mission to support and uplift other families enduring the same hardships. Through fundraising efforts and a deep desire to make a positive impact, Chrisie built a successful local business called Vented in Brooklyn, offering aromatherapy bracelets that contribute to cancer charities.
Just as her company was on the verge of national distribution, Chrisie received her own cancer diagnosis. However, her unwavering belief in the healing power of helping others fueled her determination to overcome her personal struggles. She shares with us the profound impact of finding purpose through selfless acts and how it brought newfound energy and meaning to her life.
During our conversation, Chrisie shares how she overcomes her own doubts and fears, how she found healing through giving, and perhaps most importantly how she learned to self-advocate for her needs during her cancer treatment. Her incredible ability to create connections and foster support within communities shines through as she discusses the profound effects of sharing our stories and finding strength in unity.
As we explore Chrisie's journey, discovering how she transformed her pain into purpose and continues to inspire others to create positive change, I share how I managed my own cancer scare last year (spoiler alert: not well). You can read more on that here:
Join us for this impactful conversation that will leave you inspired to transform your own pain into purpose and create positive change within your community.
Paid subscribers: stay tuned for the full episode, on video, coming your way on Monday.
Let’s keep rising higher together 💓,
Aransas Savas (00:02.786)
Welcome to the Uplifters podcast. I'm your host, Aransas Savas. And as most of you know, I'm a transformation coach and have been a behavior change expert for over 20 years. And you just heard the wonderful Melanie Cohen introducing our guest today, Chrissy Canney. Chrissy is a wife, a mother, a serial entrepreneur, an inventor, and a fundraiser who truly puts the fun in fundraising.
by throwing parties and events to raise money to support those who need it most. Chrissy has probably raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for causes she believes in. And she does it by bringing uplifters together and then encouraging them to share their authentic stories and helping them support one another, whether it's with love or money or hugs or smiles or.
whatever they have to give in ways that mean everyone receives. She's perhaps best known for her incredible work supporting cancer patients on their journeys. And so in this episode you're going to hear the events that led to the discovery of her own breast cancer diagnosis and how she has yet again
translated this challenge into new and powerful ways to uplift herself, her family, her community, and the incredible patience that she advocates for. Chrissy, thank you so much for being here.
Chrisie Canny (01:48.386)
Well, that was like a beautiful intro. Thank you. I'm like a little like, you know, I can't talk. Like that was beautiful. Thank you. So honored to be here with you. Oh.
Aransas Savas (01:57.506)
I'm so in awe of you. I'm so glad you're here. What initially drew you to advocacy and fundraising for cancer patients specifically Chrissy?
Chrisie Canny (02:10.870)
What led me to fundraising is the loss of my dad 20 years ago to cancer. And just seeing how somebody so strong could deteriorate so quickly and how when you have cancer, it's not just you who has cancer, it's your family, it's your community, it's your neighborhood.
Aransas Savas (02:55.606)
Aransas Savas (03:08.418)
It's such a beautiful way to look at something too that can feel so paralyzing and helpless. So what does it give to you to give to others?
Chrisie Canny (03:23.994)
It gives me energy. It just, it seems like it's my gift f that I'm just able to like, all of a sudden think of a fundraiser or be able to like call on my community and be like, hey, we need to help somebody. It just.
Chrisie Canny (03:42.311)
I would be lost if I didn't get to help others.
Aransas Savas (03:45.282)
I think that your ability to do it is pretty remarkable. So I think a lot of us feel a desire, maybe a wish, to help others. It is the nature of being an uplifter. And yet it's really easy to feel like, who am I?
I don't know how to do this. How does this even get done? Will my energy be worth the amount of effort and learning I have to put into this? Are people going to think I'm the wrong person to do it? All these conversations in our heads that can stop any sort of motivation or activation to do this kind of work. So how did you get past that and do it?
Chrisie Canny (04:32.450)
Okay, I've never gone past it because every fundraiser I have that fear. So you know, I'm always transparent, you know, like, I, you know, like, please, I do not. I, you know, we're sitting here raising money for a local Staten Island cancer patient. And you know, I'm just like, wait, can I do this again? You know, like, you know, you have those doubts because I'm like, oh my God, these people are people are going to kill me. I'm always asking for money.
Chrisie Canny (05:00.086)
But I love how people realize that like $5 can make a difference to somebody else when we all rally together. So it's, you know, but it's, you have to push through and you just start simple. And, you know, you can even start teaching your children how to fundraise.
Aransas Savas (05:05.973)
Aransas Savas (05:20.882)
Mmm, that's a cool idea, because
Research has shown that we're more likely to do things for the benefit of others than for ourselves, And what I hear you saying is, when I get out of my own head and I think, oh, this could help give my kids confidence to work toward their dreams, or this could influence or impact someone else's life, then it gets you out of your head and out of the self-doubt and into action.
Chrisie Canny (05:58.590)
Yeah, because the end cause is to help somebody and you realize what a difference you can make. So you just push through the fear. You just push.
Aransas Savas (06:02.515)
Aransas Savas (06:07.110)
And I think, too, there's some real power in what you're doing by acknowledging, yeah, I have doubts. I have fears. And you said, kind of off to the side, I never lie about that. I'm honest that this is scary for me. Do you think that's been helpful in building relationships with the people in your community?
Chrisie Canny (06:33.494)
100%. It's been helpful to me. As a business owner, as a woman, I connect to people because I'm honest. So because people will be like, Oh my God, you have life altogether. Like, you know, you got you this great business. And I'm always like, No, no, listen, it's not what you see. It's not the world of Facebook and Instagram. Life is not perfect. And don't think that I like I never want another room to feel bad. That I'm
doing better than her. I always want to be honest and be like, no, we're gonna do this together. We all have that same fear. I really like, my motto is like, for no one to feel alone. We all fail every day. And it's how we take those failures and move on and learn and help others.
Aransas Savas (07:23.070)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, and I think that kind of honesty is so rare. And it's a protective measure, right, to be like, it's fine, it's good. Everything is going great. Because then we don't have to admit that this is hard and scary. And yet, while it may feel empowering temporarily, it can feel disempowering and actually get in our way over time.
So you've spent years
Aransas Savas (11:46.554)
advocating for cancer patients, making extraordinary donations from the products that you've invented And then you were invited to take what you had been doing to a completely different level. So tell us that story.
Chrisie Canny (12:48.870)
So, on, in, what was it, 12-2-20, I can't remember, no, 12-2-21. I was given the opportunity to go on live TV for Joy Mangiano's show, America's Big Deal. And it was huge. I was on live TV. Like it's like, it was a show like QVC. Like you're up there competing against other people. It was a lot of fun.
I sold like over $10,000 worth of goods in like 15 minutes. It was exciting, but yeah. And it was months and months and months of work and anguish, but it was such a huge opportunity to be on.
Chrisie Canny (13:36.070)
And behind the scenes, there is a lot going on.
a week before the show, I was going for my routine checkup for my mammogram. And I have really been going every six months for the past 10 years. And the doctor came out after my mammogram,, She's like, I think you have DCIS. . And I was just like, okay, I don't have time for this. I'm gonna be on live TV next week. I have to focus on like really succeeding because this could change everything for me. So it was like.
Chrisie Canny (15:26.194)
I needed to focus. Like, I'm just gonna be on TV next week and that's it. I go and have a biopsy the following week after the show. And I'm at a Christmas party at seven o'clock on a Tuesday night, the week before Christmas, and I get a call that, you know, oh, it's cancer. And, you know, I guess because I was always, the past 10 years always been going through so much, I finally felt powerful.
Chrisie Canny (15:56.854)
All right, we have it. Like, it's stage 0.5. I was sad. I had my day of like a couple of tears and I went home to my husband, told him. And then just like a week later, I decided, I'm not keeping these girls. They're going. And I had really already decided that.
Aransas Savas (16:03.145)
Chrisie Canny (16:25.218)
So by talking to so many women, I had heard, well, let me start with what they wanted me to do. What they recommended that I do, and that it would give me a 28% chance of recurrence was to have a lumpectomy, to have five weeks of radiation, and to go on tamoxifen for about six years of my life. That's what I was told. And I'd still have a 28% chance of recurrence. And I'm like, that's not for me. Like, what if we cut these girls off?
Aransas Savas (16:53.340)
Chrisie Canny (16:54.766)
because that's what I want to do. I don't want to have treatment. I don't want to have radiation. And I don't want to take tamoxifen. And they were like, OK, your chances go down to under 3% for recurrence. And I'm like, well, that's what we're going to do. And I felt really.
Aransas Savas (17:08.886)
Chrisie Canny (17:14.962)
Again, I was empowered that day. And that's why I'm such an advocate for women to stay on top of it. You gotta catch things early so that you can make the choice. And I feel so many times when women are there, they get so, they're in such shock, they don't know to ask those questions.
Aransas Savas (17:17.918)
Aransas Savas (17:37.791)
Chrisie Canny (17:39.338)
Like, what's my other option? What else can I do? You know, like I have a girlfriend who's going through and she's just like, I gave her a list of questions. Like, okay, ask this when you're there with your husband, ask this, and she just couldn't. Like, you know, so I tried to like really instill in women don't take the power, do what you wanna do, do what feels right for you. I decided to be very verbal, you know.
and broadcast it to so many people. And that really gave me a lot of energy. Like to have so much love and support was amazing. And how could I not be so open and honest after all these women the past five years have shared their journey with me? How could I sit there and pretend that I'm not going through anything?
Aransas Savas (18:30.142)
Right, right. And I do think that's really liberating to be able to say, hey, this is what's going on with me. And that part of the reason we get so overwhelmed by things like this is because we try to hold the entirety of what's happening in our one little brain. Or maybe we share it with one or two people. And it's just too freaking much. And somehow, I think.
by putting it out, not only do we disperse the energy and allow ourselves to get a wide range of perspectives and experiences to maybe balance our own, but we also just get support. And that's what you had given to so many thousands of women over the course of your life and career. And so you put it out there and received it back.
Chrisie Canny (19:36.618)
I decided that I wanted to do something when I was going into Sloan that day. I'm like, so I'm like, I had the idea like, how about and asked all my friends, how about you sponsor a bracelet, events in Brooklyn bracelet, and then we're gonna gift the staff and we're gonna gift the patients. Vented in Brooklyn is my room with their, a jewelry company that I started six years ago in honor of my dad.And between my two surgeries, we gifted over 660 bracelets, you know, which is just, it was so good because.
it took the distraction and the worry for me, my quote is always, you find strength by giving strength.
Aransas Savas (20:08.565)
Aransas Savas (20:12.478)
Aransas Savas (20:20.250)
Mm-hmm. Say that one more time.
Chrisie Canny (20:23.015)
you find strength by giving strength.
Aransas Savas (20:25.974)
Yeah, I think that's really the heart of your story. And this idea of giving people a way to support you is so powerful because, I mean, it is absolutely true for uplifters, but it's also true for most people, that we want to help others and often just don't know how. And we can feel really helpless as people who care.
in these situations. And one of the things that I hear happening over and over again in your life is in those moments where somebody else is in trouble or somebody else is having a challenge and you feel that urge to be there for them, you're an inventor and you invent ways to give us purpose and to see you do that in your own life. And then that quote you just said
Chrisie Canny (21:24.426)
You find strength by giving strength.
Aransas Savas (21:28.190)
The truest example of that in your story so far was the strength you had to self-advocate. Because I think so many of us as women are trained to keep our voices quiet and small and to not have opinions and to not cause waves. Don't make, oh, yeah, they're in charge.
Chrisie Canny (21:49.074)
especially with doctors.
Aransas Savas (2 2:17.274)
Ugh, I can only, so incredible. And sometimes I think we all get intimidated. You knew what was okay for you, you knew what was gonna feel like a rich life for you, and so you allowed your voice to come to the table.
Chrisie Canny (23:18.710)
Yeah. And the day I walked out of the doctor's office with my husband, I just looked at him and said, I am so at peace with that decision. And I knew that it was the right decision for me. And it's not the right decision for a lot of women.
Chrisie Canny (23:52.074)
when the results came back from my double mastectomy there was cancer hiding somewhere else in my breast that they did not detect. And that took me to stage one cancer. So, I mean, things would have been a lot different. So to me, it was the best decision.
Aransas Savas (24:27.823)
Mm-hmm. And it gave you, as you said, peace and power. Yes, peace and power, the two P's here. And I think that's a great barometer for us when we are in these moments of trying to self-advocate. And
Chrisie Canny (24:31.334)
Yeah, peace and power. Peace and power.
Aransas Savas (24:48.862)
to use our voices is to ask ourselves those questions, maybe as filters. Does this answer give me peace? Does it give me a sense of power? And if the answer is no to either, it's Time to find someone who will help us find that voice. Yeah.
Aransas Savas (25:15.234)
So you've spent a lot of time with cancer patients. You've spent a lot of time talking about cancer, thinking about cancer, and now you've battled your own cancer. What do you know now? What did you learn through this journey, Chrissy?
Chrisie Canny (25:31.874)
That cancer doesn't mean the end of anything. It doesn't mean the end of life. You always have to have hope. I feel like this, like five out of eight people will have cancer of some type. one out of eight women will have breast cancer. So I think we have to look at cancer differently, like a cold, and how are you gonna be proactive and fight it and get it from the beginning?
Aransas Savas (25:48.331)
Aransas Savas (25:54.256)
Aransas Savas (26:09.062)
Yeah, I mean, I do think it's really easy to get into catastrophic thinking. And I'll say for myself, I had a cancer scare, a breast cancer scare, I guess it was a year ago now. I was debilitated. It was the only thing I could think about for the two weeks that I was waiting for results. I'm still annoyed that it took two weeks to get results. That's another conversation. But it really was the only thing I could think about.
Chrisie Canny (26:34.143)
Aransas Savas (26:39.070)
the data that you're talking about can be a real comfort to those of us who like evidence to help inform our mindsets. And so for me, frankly, if I'd heard that, it could have helped me balance all the other craziness I was Googling.
Chrisie Canny (26:56.022)
Yeah, don't Google.
Aransas Savas (26:57.622)
Don't Google. That's the real answer. Look for experts. Talk to people who've been there and don't Google.
Chrisie Canny (27:04.290)
Right. You know, I've heard, you know, by talking to so many people, I've heard a lot of people who had stage four cancer who are living 10 years later. Like you can't think of things as a death sentence. And yes, listen, I got in my head, but you gotta find that power to be like, I'm winning, you're not winning.
Aransas Savas (27:48.509)
What were the rewards of this journey?
Chrisie Canny (27:52.382)
Oh my God, I have this conversation with another survivor. It's been the best gift in the world.
Chrisie Canny (28:03.310)
A, you don't take life, like, not that I lived taking a life for granted perspective, but it really kind of smacks you in the face. Like, you meet the most amazing people, you realize how much you're loved and wanted and needed, you realize that you're not alone, that there's so many amazing women who are going through the same journey with you. It has been a blessing for me.
Aransas Savas (28:33.554)
Interesting that every single thing you mention as a benefit could not have happened had you not had the courage to be honest about what was happening with you.
Chrisie Canny (28:43.610)
you're so right like andthere's people I know who don't like to share it and I understand it but I feel like that's how you heal you can't keep it in.
Aransas Savas (28:46.302)
That was the...
Aransas Savas (28:58.946)
Chrisie Canny (29:06.006)
Like, you know, God didn't give us other people to like not talk to and keep things in. He gave us a voice for a reason so we could share. And it's scary. And that's OK, too. I think to share and acknowledge that, hey, this is scary to me to share, it just makes us more human. And we have this tendency as human beings to see other human beings as being one dimensional. And we create characters out of people.
Aransas Savas (29:46.742)
that are no richer than the people that we pass on the street. We make all these assumptions about how people feel, about how they live, what they think. And all those assumptions just create distance. And the thing I'm mostly struck about in your story is that how honesty created closeness.
Aransas Savas (30:10.490)
And that, I think, I watch how you interact with people in social media. And there is an intimacy. There is a sense from everyone that I see you interact with that they matter and that they feel seen and known. And I'm getting from this conversation that it's all dependent.
on the honesty with which you have journeyed through your life and relationships.
Aransas Savas (30:45.930)
And it's almost as if, if we want that from and for other people, we have to be the model of it.
Chrisie Canny (30:54.779)
We need them for our daughters. Yeah.
Aransas Savas (30:57.834)
Yes, yes. I love telling my daughters, I do not feel like my best self today. Man, I am really grumpy. Could you give me a little extra grace today?
Chrisie Canny (31:13.430)
Yeah, my daughter and I are very open about our feelings and emotions. Like, okay, just, you know, just give me five minutes.
Aransas Savas (31:13.675)
Aransas Savas (31:22.278)
We're human beings. What an important place to model that for the next generation. I think too though, it lets us trust that we are known and loved when we're honest.
There's a real non-judgment in the way you approach life, a real acceptance of people's differences that I really admire.
Chrisie Canny (34:12.978)
I think that came from my dad, So I wrote a chapter in the book that's coming out this year, Magnificently Made. And my chapter, I talk about, like it starts with how much I enjoyed my father's week.
Aransas Savas (34:32.020)
Chrisie Canny (34:33.274)
because so many people were just like sharing stories and telling how good he was and beautiful and what he did for them and how he helped them in their business and you know inspire them to go do something you know and maybe it's morbid to some but at my wake I want people to think that way about me.
Chrisie Canny (35:04.278)
Right? So, yeah, he was a good guy and he taught us all to be caring. And, you know, to me, it's just important to like, being a light spreads. Right? So, you know, just making the day and one woman's life helps her, you know, her mood changes and, you know, but then that light just keeps growing. We have to make them wear in like such turmoil with certain things. We just have to be nice people. Like just don't be a jerk. You know, like don't be a jerk. Just be kind.
Aransas Savas (35:32.606)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that can be hard sometimes. And it's a practice, I think, a muscle that we can strengthen, just like any other, that if we practice kindness, we become kinder.
Chrisie Canny (35:50.066)
Yeah, and I think that that's what people tell me when they're like, why they want to donate when I'm asking for money for another person. It's like they realize that it feels good. And like you said, people are afraid to do their own charity. So like, I like to be the facilitator for people to do good. Right. So that's like, you know, just to help, you know, it just warms everybody's heart when you help somebody else.
Aransas Savas (36:07.307)
Aransas Savas (36:12.267)
Aransas Savas (36:15.566)
What do you hope your life teaches people, Chrissy?
Chrisie Canny (36:21.026)
that it's really easy to help somebody else.
Aransas Savas (36:27.422)
Yeah, how simple and important and powerful. Because I think you're right, we get caught up and slowed down by thinking it's gonna be really hard to make a difference. And what you're saying is it's just tiny stuff.
Chrisie Canny (36:47.670)
Yeah, we all have the ability to make a difference every day of our lives. The way we react to what we do, to opening a door to those little skills that we taught as a kid in the books that we read, like, you know, go back and read a children's, a little inspiring children's book of manners. you can change somebody's whole day by how you react. Chrisie Canny (37:45.986)
You know, that mom that has a screaming kid in the supermarket. Distract the kid for her. Help her. Don't yell at her. Don't make her feel bad. You've been there. Just say, yeah, I've been there. Like, hey, try to distract the kid as much as you can. Help her out.
Aransas Savas (38:29.682)
I love that story. It's just this idea of looking for little ways to make the world better, not worse, to make us feel closer and safer, not further apart and more left out or ignored.
when we lift other people up and we bring empathy to the conversation and truth and humanity to the conversation, the ripples are so much more likely to be helpful and positive than when we bring judgment and anger and ignore the fact that we're just talking to human beings, frail, fragile, feeling human beings.
Aransas Savas (41:23.738)
Easy stuff, quick stuff, and yet it makes so much difference. Chrissy, thank you for being such a bright light in the world. We like to end every episode with a lightning round. So what's one quick way you raise your own energy? What's?
Chrisie Canny (41:38.955)
Chrisie Canny (41:42.806)
going for a walk by the water. That totally like can change my mood in a second.
Aransas Savas (41:50.646)
One easy way you boost other women.
Chrisie Canny (41:59.610)
Give them a compliment. I probably, you know, when I meet my girlfriends and give them a hug, I pick out something of them that like, oh, your hair is great today. Oh my God, that blouse. You can, so easy. You should do it to every girlfriend every day that you're with them. Oh yeah, totally, totally. I did to somebody the other day, I was like, oh my God, your boots. Like, I love them.
Aransas Savas (42:17.386)
Yes, and even strangers.
One little way you elevate your community, the planet, or the world, it seems sort of silly to ask you this, since it's, I feel like, the whole of your life.
Chrisie Canny (43:01.050)
you know, yeah, I'm gonna get, I love to bring the community together to fundrise and you know, that's what we do.
Aransas Savas (43:09.282)
So tell us about a woman who has inspired you, who you think might inspire us, Chrissy.
Chrisie Canny (43:15.926)
Maureen Spataro is amazing. She lifts every woman up that I know. And she is the victim of sexual assault and domestic violence. She had a mental breakdown at the age of 49.
Aransas Savas (43:34.817)
Chrisie Canny (43:42.238)
She went and worked on it. She's still working on it. She loves to say her mess is her message. And she's just a beautiful gift to us all. She's going out, she's talking, trying to give the warning signs to teenage girls.
Oh, for those of you listening, head over to theuplifterspodcast.com to tell us about the women who inspire you. We all get so much braver and stronger and more empowered when we are together.
Aransas Savas (44:44.218)
And this is how we raise one another up, through telling our stories, through being honest in the way that Chrissy has, through embracing all the mess as a part of the message. And I am so grateful for you, Chrissy, for your story.
Aransas Savas (45:04.950)
And whether the folks listening are looking at this through the lens of a cancer journey or through frankly any challenge that exists, I believe there is a message in your story to all of us that we can find greater power together in our truth and all it takes is the courage to share our story with honesty.
Aransas Savas (45:32.690)
as we look for the opportunities to use these challenges to bring us a greater sense of purpose and impact with our lives. Thank you all for listening and Chrissy, thank you so much for being here.