It started out as a small, personal gesture between friends. In October 2008, La Cañada Flintridge resident Kathy Waller gave her best friend a St. Christopher necklace as a sign of support and protection after her friend's diagnosis with breast cancer.
"It is just a really scary time," Waller said. "There is so much information that you are getting from doctors and the Internet. It is so overwhelming. You just need to have a friend."
A few weeks later, during a visit to her obstetrician-gynecologist, Waller, 52, got her own diagnosis — there was a massive lump in her right breast and 17 "hot spots" in her left breast.
In January 2009, the La Cañada Elementary School mother and former La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation executive board member underwent a double mastectomy. The surgery was a success, but now it was Waller's turn to seek support from family and friends.