“Eight Women. Eight Stories. One Cause,” is the slogan for Pink Power Moms, a campaign from Bright Starts to honor inspirational breast cancer survivors.

Eight women every year share their stories of struggle, pain and perseverance. Breast cancer affects women from all walks of life, but what makes these individuals remarkable is that they continue to give back to their communities by donating to charities and advocating for breast cancer awareness.

This year’s Pink Power Super Mom, a woman chosen from the eight nominees, is Mary Ann Wasil Nilan from Milford, Conn. At age 39, in 2004, Nilan was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer.

Nilan underwent several surgeries, a stroke and a recurrence of her breast cancer two months ago, forcing her to undergo her eighth session of chemotherapy. However, she recently found out that her tumor markers have plummeted, showing that the chemotherapy is working.

Nilan persevered through her struggle and developed a program to educate girls on self breast examinations. The idea for this program was inspired by her discovery of a lump on her breast during a self breast exam. The Get in Touch Foundation focuses on educating girls from grades 5-12 with an interactive tool called the “Daisy Wheel.”

The Daisy Wheel is a CD-like pamphlet that shows girls how to exam their breasts, using the language of a young girl, said Nilan. Get in Touch is a nonprofit organization that was founded in September 2009 and has distributed the Daisy Wheel to schools across the nation and in 18 countries.

Schools can apply online at www.getintouchfoundation.org to receive free Daisy Wheels. Orders can also be renewed annually free of charge. After Nilan’s nomination for Pink Power Super Mom, her organization received over $20,000 in donations.

“The award I received by being a Bright Starts Pink Power Mom, and, subsequently, the 2011 Pink Power Super Mom, makes it possible for us to get one step closer to realizing our dream of putting a Daisy Wheel in the hands of every girl in the world,” said Nilan.

“A big dream, yes, but with Kids II and Bright Starts supporting that dream we are well on our way,” she added.

Another amazing Pink Power Mom was Quida Francis, nominated in 2007. Francis was pregnant when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. To make matters worse, her husband was overseas fighting in the war in Iraq. Francis was left to care for her newborn child and 1-year-old baby alone.

Francis endured the grueling side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and loss of hair, toenails and fingernails. “Everything I tried to touch with my finger hurt so badly,” said Francis, who described her nails as black and oozing.

Francis also contracted a Staph infection after her mastectomy and reconstruction, but did not let her health drag her into a depression. “There are days after chemo treatments you want someone to just carry you to bed and you can’t move or maybe don’t want to,” Francis admitted.

“I needed to have people help me with my two babies, not just simple babysitting, but I couldn’t lift them after the mastectomy. I couldn’t comb my baby girl’s hair because of the pain in my finger [and] I couldn’t cook because everything just tasted like metal to me,” said Francis, describing her need for prayers.

Despite her struggle, Francis found the strength to participate in two sponsored events from the American Cancer Society, the “Relay for Life” and “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walks. She is currently in the beginning stages of creating an organization to bring awareness to young cancer survivors of the trials and tribulations that lie ahead of them.

Nominations for next year’s Pink Power Moms ended July 31 and the winners will be announced in October.