This is Budge's third post in a 3-part series.
After Arlene’s death, I knew that I had to channel my energy into something positive that could fight breast cancer. I was looking for another label for our wines (Arlene and I had founded Tulip Hill Winery, which we turned over to our youngest daughter Kristi when Arlene got too sick) and Kristi told me about a wine label that was for sale that might be of interest. She told me it was called Cleavage Creek. I thought it over, waiting a few months before I contacted the seller. I bought the label in 2006, and the first thing I changed was the focus of the label from the original racy type of marketing to something more tasteful.
The original label was contributing 10% of profits to breast cancer research. I wanted to do more. I got the idea to have an actual breast cancer survivor on the label. I decided to give 10% of the gross to breast cancer research and support. I wanted to inspire and honor breast cancer survivors.
I have spent a lot of time being angry because my wife died. I was angry because during the five years between her first and second diagnosis, we were not advised to monitor her condition with other tests besides the mammogram. I was angry because we spent time with doctors who didn’t seem to care, and who didn’t know about protocols at other major cancer centers.
I knew if I didn’t do something positive, my anger would eat me alive. So I turned to my passion for growing grapes and making wine. Anger morphed into determination … Determination to see that other women could have a better experience during the treatment of their disease , so that they could be better informed, so that they could take charge of their treatment, and so that they could have a better outcome.