Amanda never thought she’d be fighting for her life at 28. Instead of
hanging out with friends, traveling and spending time outdoors, she’s
navigating surgeries, chemotherapy and doctor’s appointments.
“My normal life just stopped on February 7,” said Amanda, a former
Dutch Bros broista who now works for Facebook in Seattle. “That’s when
I received my breast cancer diagnosis.”
Amanda’s breast cancer journey started in the summer of 2018. She told
her doctor about a lump she’d found on her breast. Her doctor thought
it was a cyst, but suggested she get it checked out by a specialist.
That didn’t happen until six months later.
“I’d heard it was common for young women to get cysts, so I wasn’t too
worried about it, which is why it took me so long to get it checked
out,” explained Amanda. “The fact that it might be cancer didn’t even
cross my mind. I just assumed people don’t get breast cancer at 27
Amanda was initially diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer. Her care
team believed her cancer had already spread too far and would be
incurable. It wasn’t until a month later they learned it hadn’t
spread, instead she was facing two different types of cancer- both of
which could be treated. What seemed overwhelming at first, was
actually good news.
“It really is my little miracle that this happened,” explained Amanda.
“The new diagnosis meant I had two contained cancers that were curable
and I could fight.”
So far, that fight has included countless appointments, chemotherapy
and surgery. Radiation and one more surgery will finish her treatment
and, hopefully, lead to remission. But fighting the physical aspects
of cancer is just part of the battle. Amanda says the disease also
takes a mental and emotional toll.
“At the beginning of this, I didn’t want the stigma of being the girl
with cancer. One of the biggest challenges for me is remembering that
physical changes do not matter, it’s about who you are as a person and
staying strong through all the bad.”
Amanda says one of the keys to staying positive is finding support,
both personally and in the community.
“The coolest part in all this is how loved I’ve felt through this
whole process. I’ve never felt so supported in my entire life- it’s
been really amazing to see people and the kindness they’ve shown me.”
Some of that support comes from Amanda’s former Dutch Bros co-workers
and customers. Each October, Dutch Bros marks Breast Cancer Awareness
month with its “Be Aware” campaign. A portion of the sales from
limited edition mugs support the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and, in
the Sacramento area, Albie Aware. Both organizations are committed to
finding a cause and cure for breast cancer, as well as supporting
patients through their journeys.
It’s that kind of support that’s helping give Amanda hope in the final
stretch of her fight and reframe this experience into a positive one.
“As scary as getting my diagnosis was, it taught me to be strong and
that I’m not alone in this. Regardless of a diagnosis, there is always
a chance and you just have to fight whatever comes your way. As
advanced as medicine, doctors and technology have come, the drive to
beat it has to come from within.”
Amanda feels confident in her future and plans to celebrate her
remission with a trip with friends. She also hopes to inspire others
to pay attention to their bodies and get the care they need as soon as
“I feel like, if I had read a story like mine, I would have gone to
the doctor sooner.”
In the meantime, Amanda is taking everything day-by-day and living her
“I’m still the same person I was, but it’s almost as though I’m
finding a new identity. It’s building yourself up to be better than
you were before.”
Two minutes. That’s how much time Jenny Sutter has to make a
difference in a customer’s day. It’s a challenge she was eager to
accept when she was hired as a Dutch Bros broista eight years ago.
“You get this whole world, a whole new community. I just dove in head
Jenny knew before she started how important her job was. Just months
before, she’d become a regular customer.
“I graduated high school and moved to Seattle that summer.”
Jenny was working at a church internship when her mom reached out to
tell her she’d found a lump in her breast.
“She called just to fill me in and reassure me she had an
appointment,” remembered Jenny. “At the end of that week was when they
found out it was malignant. That was such a heartbreaking,
devastating, earth-shattering phone call.”
At 19-years-old, Jenny left her internship for winter break and never
went back. Instead, she stayed to support her mother through the fight
for her life.
“I was living with her- I really had only moved out for six months. I
moved back into my old bedroom. The first thing they did was a double
mastectomy. Then she went through several weeks of chemotherapy and
that’s when I started going to Dutch Bros.”
The weekly interactions proved to be a game-changer.
“It became a ritual for me. She was there at chemo for a few hours, so
I would drop her off, go to Dutch and grab my coffee,” said Jenny. “I
don’t know if the girls at the window knew what my mom was going
through- I’m pretty sure I kept that to myself. But having that two
minute interaction when I could be a 19-year-old talking about funny
things was an escape, a breath of fresh air from the reality I was
While optimism was key to getting through the months of treatment,
Jenny says staying positive wasn’t always easy.
“I had to shave her head one night and my mom thought it was so funny.
To me, that’s when it became so real. I feel like that night is when I
kind of broke, because it went from ‘We’re fighting this,’ to it being
real and gnarly and scary.”
Despite the fear of what could happen, Jenny says her mom, Jodi, was
“She was such a badass through it all, it was really inspiring to walk
through it with her,” said Jenny. “We were always so positive and
optimistic and hopeful and prayerful. I feel like I never let it sink
in that she could die. My mom is just such a fighter that death was
not an option.”
Her mother’s strength, along with the encouragement she received from
Dutch Bros broistas helped get her through the toughest days.
“Those interactions at the window were so important. Life hit really,
really fast and I had to put the life I had on hold. Everything about
life that was mine kind of disappeared. When I would go through that
window, the way they would talk to me and look me in the eye and have
those conversations- they treated me like a normal 19-year-old girl
and had normal conversations about boys, TV, mundane things that
didn’t have to do with cancer. That was so freeing.”
Inspired by the relationships she’d created, Jenny applied for a job.
“Just the way they were genuinely present at the window for me and
clearly handcrafted the experience at that moment was so rad. I knew
firsthand what that meant. I couldn’t wait to get on the window and be
that for someone else coming through.”
A few months later, her mom received the call they’d been hoping and
“It was in December that we found out she was cancer free. You just
hold on for dear life and then you get that phone call that she’s
cancer free and all that weight just goes off your shoulders,” said
Jenny. “They call it remission, they never say they cured it because
it can always come back. But it’s no longer something that haunts us,
it truly feels like she escaped it and beat it.”
Today, Jenny’s mom is healthy and enjoying life in Spokane. Jenny is
married to a man she met at Dutch Bros and they’re hoping to open
their own Dutch Bros location soon.
“Coming full circle, that’s pretty damn cool.”
She’s forever grateful for the support she received during her
mother’s cancer journey and thankful for the opportunity to pay it
“In leadership at Dutch Bros, I’ve been able to walk alongside a
couple of different girls whose moms have been diagnosed. I know
there’s nothing I can do that’s going to make their situation better,
but to be there with them and look them in the eye and ask how they’re
doing- to be able to be that person in that season of their life is
really, really cool for me.”
Eight years later, Jenny still looks forward to Breast Cancer
Awareness month and the Dutch Bros “Be Aware” campaign, which donates
$10 from limited edition mugs to OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and, in
the Sacramento area, Albie Aware.
“That unbridled optimism that my mom and I had at the early stages of
her fight comes back. ‘Screw cancer, we’re going to beat this thing,’
that’s what BCA reminds me of. It also brings waves of nostalgia,
holding my mom’s hand at chemo and doing those runs to Dutch Bros But
mostly, it reminds me of hope- we’re all in this together and one day
we’ll find a cure, but until then, we’ll fight this thing hand in
And she has a message for customers who give their time, money and
energy to fighting the disease that changed the course of both her and
her mother’s lives.
“I think that just one cup of coffee, one little mug and one little
sticker adds up to a huge change. If customers are able to share
different stories and come together during this time to reflect on
experiences, or just listen and understand what other people have gone
through, that’s the best thing they can do.”
Brenna Lindsley has a goal and she isn’t letting anything stop her.
“Next year, I’m planning on Iceland. Maybe Japan the year after.”
With a new job, new destinations on her bucket list and a new outlook,
Brenna is armed to take on the life she wasn’t sure she’d have less
than two years ago.
“I don’t want to be so afraid of dying that I forget to live.”
Brenna’s journey’s around the world started with a much different sort
of journey last spring. At just 38, she found a lump in her breast.
She called her doctor, just in case.
“I wasn’t worried. The appointment was just a precaution.”
During her exam, the doctor found a second lump.
“She wanted me to have a mammogram and ultrasound as a precaution and
get a good baseline. I still wasn’t worried. ‘Cool, overabundance of
caution,’ I thought.”
That overabundance of caution led to more tests and, ultimately, a
diagnosis she never expected. Brenna was one of the more than 12,000
women under 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
“The lump I found turned out to be nothing,” said Brenna. “But the
lump the doctor found was malignant. I feel stupidly lucky. If I
hadn’t gone in for the benign lump I found, if my doctor hadn’t done a
full examination, all the ways it could have been missed… it’s just
Even as treatments began, Brenna was still trying to wrap her mind
around the turn her life had taken.
“All I kept thinking is, ‘But I eat blueberries… I can’t have
cancer,’” remembered Brenna as she reflected on the diagnosis. “It’s
amazing to me how you can go from having normal, everyday concerns –
like what to make for dinner – to omg, I have cancer. I liken it to
feeling hunted. One minute your worries are normal, modern ones and
the next moment, you feel like you have a bear sitting next to you.
Maybe it’ll leave you alone, or maybe it’ll kill you.”
The team at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute helped Brenna navigate the
new direction her life had taken. Her patient access service
coordinator walked her through the treatment process and her care team
stayed with her every step of the way. Brenna’s care plan started with
surgery to remove the lump and five lymph nodes, followed by
radiation. It was that part of the process that hit Brenna the
“I remember reading stories about women who seemed barely phased by
breast cancer. Instead, I was collapsing in my shower, shaking in
absolute terror and breaking down in tears when the nice checkout lady
at the grocery store asked how I was doing.”
When radiation was done, Brenna set her sights on building herself up.
She found a CrossFit gym, dove into her survivorship support group and
one day, while scrolling through Pinterest (“because Google during
cancer is damned scary, but Pinterest was soothing,”) was introduced
to the idea of a “Cancerversary.”
“I thought, ‘Yes, every year on the week of my diagnosis, I want to be
That one thought grew into a plan and, now, an epic bucket list. And
Brenna knew exactly where she wanted to start.
“I kept thinking that Scotland would be the next place I wanted to
see. The mountains, the glens, the coastlines, the amazing cities and
villages, the highland cows! All of it.”
This May, Brenna marked the first anniversary of her cancer diagnosis
by checking off that first box on her list.
“Standing on a mountaintop in the Scottish Highlands on the same day I
got my diagnosis the year before, is one of the highlights of my
She took the trip alone, as a testament to everything she has, and
“Feeling strong and independent, after feeling scared and vulnerable
and helpless, is life changing. Going alone made me feel grateful to
Now, Brenna is back in Oregon and planning her next steps. After 17
years, she left a job at Nordstrom and has chosen to give back by
becoming a patient access service specialist at OHSU, the same place
she was treated. She’s experiencing firsthand all the difference
caring, trust and funding can make to someone facing cancer.
“I would hug every single person who thinks about donating to the
institute if I could. Philanthropy arms our cancer teams with
treatment and research and making stories like mine possible.”
And, through it all, she’s adding to the bucket list, planning for
years of celebrations.
“Wherever it is, wherever I go, I want to remind myself that I’m
alive. And that I’m strong.”
Dutch Bros Coffee launches annual Breast Cancer Awareness campaign with
new “Be Aware” mug!
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (Sept. 30, 2019) — Dutch Bros Coffee will launch its
annual #BeAware campaign, Tuesday, Oct. 1, in support of Breast Cancer
The company will donate $10 from each custom “Be Aware” mug sold in
October to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and Albie Aware. The mugs
feature a new design each year; for 2019, the hot pink insulated mug
features a line from the Dutch Bros creed, “Too strong for fear.”
“Loving on our customers and communities is one of the key values we
have at Dutch Bros,” said Travis Boersma, CEO and co-founder of Dutch
Bros Coffee. “We wholeheartedly support OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and
Albie Aware because they’re working to make our communities healthier
and giving our friends, family and customers the support they need to
beat breast cancer.”
The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon, is one of the
pioneers in personalized cancer treatment and research. Its mission is
to advance the early detection of cancer, when the disease is the most
treatable, and end cancer as we know it. Albie Aware assists individuals
in the Sacramento, California, area facing or fighting breast cancer by
providing life-saving diagnostic testing, patient advocacy, prevention
education and compassionate support.
Dutch Bros began its annual Breast Cancer Awareness campaign in 2013. To
date, the company has donated more than $1.3 million to the advancement
of breast cancer research.
“The support of Dutch Bros and its customers is truly inspiring,” said
Rebecca DeBo, assistant vice president of development for the OHSU and
Doernbecher Foundations. “The programs customers help fund are making a
real difference in the fight against breast cancer. Through research and
education, we know we are on the path to ending cancer as we know it.”
About Dutch Bros
Dutch Bros Coffee is the country’s largest privately held drive-thru
coffee company, with more than 350 locations and approximately 12,000
employees in seven states. The company is headquartered in Grants Pass,
Oregon, where it was founded in 1992 by Dane and Travis Boersma. Dutch
Bros serves specialty coffee, smoothies, freezes, teas, a private-label
Dutch Bros Blue Rebel energy drink and nitrogen-infused cold brew
coffee. Its rich, proprietary coffee blend is handcrafted from start to
In addition to its mission of speed, quality and service, Dutch Bros is
committed to giving back to the communities it serves. Through its Love
Abounds Foundation and local franchisees, Dutch Bros donates several
million dollars to causes across the country each year.