Sarah and Stephanee met in 2001 when Sarah opened Big City Coffee in Boise, Idaho, and Stephanee became one her first employees. During a girls trip to Mexico in 2008, Stephanee noticed a lump that turned out to be breast cancer. The next three years were a blur of the highs and lows that come with cancer. They say 1 in 8 women get breast cancer and, well, they were right... There were 8 girls on that trip.
Sarah created “Big Titty Blend” as a way to show support for Stephanee and starting selling it in her coffee shop. She wanted to use a little humor to grab people’s attention so they would pick up a bag and read the story.
Stephanee Jane was the life of the party, the host with the most, a texan at heart, a glamour girl, a gourmet cook and the inspiration for big titty coffee. She was a daugther, a sister, a friend and is a survivor even in spirit.
After losing Stephanee, Sarah’s urge to do something to fight breast cancer became even stronger. She wanted to reach more people, to carry on Stephanee’s legacy, and to help other women facing breast cancer. So Joe Cans was born.
With our Cans, we hope to share with you so many things: a warm cup of coffee, a laugh, a memory, hope, and a chance to contribute to an exceptional cause...
All of us here at Joe Cans have had our lives touched by breast cancer. For those warriors we have loved and those we have lost, we pick up the torch, determined to continue the fight against breast cancer.
With each can of Joe Cans coffee that we sell, a $1 donation will be made toward breast cancer detection services. Our goal is to support early detection, to empower as many women as possible to become breast cancer survivors.
We know that coffee itself will not cure cancer, but we hope that our Cans can provide laughter, support,
and a sense of solidarity to people facing breast cancer.
In essence, we want our Cans to help save joe cans, joe mama's cans, joe mama's mama's cans...
Two years ago, I heard about a CrossFit event called “Barbells for Boobs” — a workout for charity with proceeds going to an organization called Mammograms In Action. I decided to host a Barbells for Boobs event my gym, the CrossFit Refinery, with my friend Kelly. It was October. Stephanee made it to the event; she didn’t make it to see the end of the year.
Kelly and I kept going and hosted another Barbells for Boobs in 2012, and I think I can speak for both of us when I say we were blown away by the response. It was standing room only. I just kept thinking, “Where are all these people coming from?!”
Needless to say we were hooked, so when I approached Kelly about taking BTB to the next level, she was all in. We in turn partnered with our friend Andrea, who brings her superb accounting skills to our threesome. You know what they say — “a three legged stool is the strongest”. I am so privileged to be partnered with these two amazing women.
So here we are, five years later — from my first bags of Big Titty Blend with the hand drawn bra on bags of coffee I packed myself — to our new collaboration, Joe Cans. Not only are we raising money for Mammograms In Action every time we sell a can of coffee, but were hoping to raise awareness and raise some spirits along the way.
I am a crossfit junky, late-bloomer coffee lover, graphic designer, and cancer-hater — at least to summarize my mix in this project. I became a regular at Big City Coffee in 2006 when I worked at a marketing agency just a few blocks away. Three years later, I applied for a part-time job, knowing how much I loved their pastries and after I got the job, I learned quickly to love the coffee too.
I hadn’t worked there long when the owners of the CrossFit gym nearby encouraged Sarah to get a business membership and I was quick to jump at the opportunity. I had been doing CrossFit unofficially for about a year and I loved it. That’s really how the stars aligned and solidified a friendship between Sarah and I. So over the next four months our friendship grew and we found we had another important passion in common: cancer. My mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy just prior to my meeting Sarah. It is because of early detection that I believe my mom is now cancer-free. Since her diagnosis, I have become as active as possible in various breast cancer programs.
Then, in 2011, Sarah heard of a gym in northern Idaho that was putting on a fundraiser called “Barbells for Boobs”. We both really wanted to go but the timing wasn’t right. Then we thought, “Why not hold our own?” We worked with the owners of our gym who graciously offered their help and their space and we successfully hosted our first Barbells for Boobs. That first year we hosted Barbells for Boobs purely out of passion, but inturn realized how much of an impact we made on others.
That realization led us to this next adventure with Joe Cans. We decided to take a simple daily activity such as drinking coffee, make it lighthearted and funny to counterbalance the darkness of cancer, and raise money for women who need it and awareness for women who don’t know they need it yet.
On a larger scale, we hope we can continue to touch more and more people so more women can become survivors and no one has to wonder, “What if she had caught it earlier?”
Andrea is one of those rare people who doesn’t believe you need a reason to help out. Whether it is for people or animals, she is always there to pay it forward. So bringing her on as a partner in Joe Cans was a no brainer. Whether she is cheering on her beloved Boise State Broncos or crunching some numbers as a tax accountant, she is always helping the little guy.
Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way and Andrea has been no exception. Would you believe that Andrea grew up down the street from Stephanee and used to babysit her when she was little? They say it's a small world... well it really is in Idaho!
Remember — you don't need a reason to help somebody, you just need to do it!
...And also remember — Go BRONCOS!