At Because Market, our number one goal is to help our customers live life to the fullest. Their stories inspire everything we do, and we love sharing them through our Spotlight Series in hopes of also inspiring you.
Darlene is a 70-year-old who spent her life forging her own path and pushing past boundaries. Over the years, she has overcome numerous challenges to continue to enjoy the freedom to pursue her passions.
After downsizing from a 3,469-square-foot home, Darlene purchased land to build a home overlooking the Klamath River. Although Oregon is her current home, she was born and raised in San Francisco, where she was never afraid to stand out from the crowd.
A Bold Boundary Breaker
Darlene began defying gender norms at a young age. She dreamed of having a paper route, but despite having a bike with a basket, there were no jobs available for her. "Only boys were hired in San Francisco," she said.
A self-described tomboy throughout her adolescence, she rejoiced at a change in her high school's policy that allowed her to ditch dresses and wear what she pleased. "Everyone wore suits, but I wore blue jeans and cowboy boots."
Darlene also participated in her high school's rifle team, which practiced and competed beneath the school’s gym. She excelled in the club, but a sergeant in the ROTC program dashed her dreams of becoming a competitive shooter by telling her, "I had to be a 17-year-old male to shoot."
She wasn't popular in school, but she didn't mind. She stayed focused on holding her own in a male-dominated world. "It was impossible for me to wear and do anything I wanted back then," she explained.
After graduation, Darlene continued to redefine what was possible for women at the time. In the 1970s, she worked for the Forest Service, fighting forest fires and surveying new roads and bridges. Following the closure of the agency, she landed a job as a road and bridge surveyor with the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Hobbies That Span From the Kitchen to the Great Outdoors
Darlene has always loved spending time in the great outdoors. She spent many summers and weekends on her uncle's dairy ranch in Chico, CA, helping with chores and enjoying the wide open spaces. Camping is one of her favorite pastimes, and the Redwoods are one of her favorite destinations for weekend camp-outs.
A determined woman, Darlene continued to shoot over the years. She has held a concealed carry license for 35 years and regularly heads to the target practice range to maintain her aim.
You’ll likely find Darlene in the kitchen when she’s indoors. Many of her fondest memories are connected with food. Her mother, a Minnesota native, told her that she moved to California "so she could have fresh oranges anytime she wanted to." With a laugh, she reported that she grew up with freshly squeezed OJ and didn't know you could buy that "orange-colored stuff" in bottles until she moved to Oregon.
Darlene's mother was away from home frequently, so she taught her daughter how to cook for herself. Although Darlene learned to prepare many dishes, she always struggled to get her mother's bread just right because the recipe was never written down. Through trial and error, Darlene eventually succeeded, and bread and rolls remain her favorite things to whip up in the kitchen to this day.
Another favorite recipe of Darlene's is spaghetti in a homemade sauce made from canned tomatoes. The meal brings back memories of helping her mom can tomatoes. This tradition began when Darlene was five, and she fondly recalls canning everything from peaches to homemade strawberry jam.
In addition to cooking, Darlene sews and plays the piano. She also enjoys spending time with her three cats.
Reclaiming Her Freedom
Hospitalization due to a heart condition temporarily put the brakes on Darlene’s active life. To treat the condition, her doctor prescribed a diuretic. He cautioned her that she would likely develop frequent urination, but she might be able to still leave the house without having to make frequent bathroom pit stops.
Upon discharge, Darlene returned home with incontinence products from the hospital and purchased products from various companies. She hated the droopy fit of the protective underwear, explaining, "They did not fit under my clothes. They were not discreet looking at all. You could tell I was wearing a diaper."
Not willing to compromise her appearance or her freedom to live life on the go, Darlene began exploring other options. That's when she discovered Because Market. The story of our founders, Alexi and Luca, caught her attention. She wanted to see what they designed when they couldn't find satisfactory incontinence protection for their loved ones. Darlene ordered the underwear and found they worked for her.
To the amazement of her doctors, Darlene completely recovered from her heart condition. No longer needing to take the diuretic, she was able to discontinue the use of incontinence underwear. However, a few broken bones later, Darlene was having trouble getting to the bathroom quickly.
Remembering how Because incontinence products worked for her, she called us and asked for advice. Our representative matched our moderate incontinence pads to her unique needs.
Darlene was pleased by the recommendation. She calls the pads "wonderful" and says, "You cannot see them under your clothing, and they stay in place."
The absorbency also benefits Darlene. Having to juggle an oxygen tank and use a walker, she needed something that would protect her if she experienced leakage on the way to the bathroom. She knows she has time to get to the bathroom safely with the pads. "They hold a lot of liquid. I've never filled them up," she reports.
With Because incontinence pads, Darlene is once more free to go where she pleases. "I feel confident that they will work and not have any wet clothes or droopy, wet undergarments." She has even worn the pads while camping.
Darlene currently lives with her daughter while she awaits the completion of her new house, and the living arrangements give her plenty of time to spend with her two grandchildren. Her new living situation has made her extremely busy, as she says keeping up with children "is a lot more than I remember." Despite her jam-packed schedule, the proud grandma loves their company, saying, "it was pretty quiet the last 12 years."
She continues to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature, recently taking a vacation to the Redwoods in California with her brother, who is also moving to Oregon. She’s ready for the next chapter of her life and shows no signs of slowing down.
Are you interested in being featured in the next customer spotlight? Email Spotlight@becausemarket.com. You can also join our Facebook Incontinence Support Community.