George and Jen Memory have a story that needs to be shared. It is a story of fast love, followed by tribulations, and then of the two conquering the odds. Jen’s story is one that all women need to take to heart and make sure they take the appropriate steps to help avoid everyone’s worst nightmare, cancer. Jen became the “Susan G. Komen Survivor of the Year,” through her fight. George’s story is one that all husbands should read to learn how to treat your wife. George left his job as a wealth manager to start selling cold-pressed juices at his new company, Organix Juice Bar and become a pioneer of the local organic industry of Winston-Salem.
George grew up in Winston-Salem, attending Summit and Forsyth Country Day, before he headed to Elon for college. Jen grew up in neighboring Yadkin County, and moved to Winston to attend Forsyth Tech in the early 2000’s. In 2011, George was working as a wealth manager at Stephens, and Jen worked at SunTrust Bank. They both previously had been in long relationships, but decided to try out online dating.
Jen was living off of Country Club Road, and George was living in Ardmore when they came across each other’s profile. Jen told her mom that she thought George might be the one. George set up their first date right across the street from his Ardmore house at Cafe Roche on March 20, 2011. He told his friend that he wanted to have the first date there, in case it didn’t turn out great and he could head back home. He estimated the first date to last five to ten minutes. Over an hour later after first meeting Jen, he finally left the date.
The two didn’t waste anytime getting to know each other. They went on five dates that first week, and George took Jen to meet his family at the end of the week. He said, “I wanted to throw her right in, because I thought she was the one.” They went on an out of town date to Asheville soon after and never looked back.
George contacted Jen’s best friend, Clare Hector, a couple months after their first date to take her out to lunch. Clare was confused and told Jen that her boyfriend, George, had just asked her on a date. When in all reality, George wanted to take Clare to lunch to try to figure out Jen’s ring size.
George liked to keep notes on things that Jen told him that she really wanted to do in life. At one point, she told George that she really wanted to try a hot-air balloon ride. He nonchalantly played it off like he really wasn’t paying attention. He already had a ring and a plan. On August 01, 2011, George surprised her with a hot-air balloon ride on her birthday. She was happy with the surprise, but had no idea of what his plans would be while they were in flight. After Jen got over narrowly missing some telephone poles, George popped the question. They were married on May 19, 2012 in Winston-Salem.
During the next year, George continued his job at Stephens and Jen really got into photography and started working at Monkee’s, a designer fashion boutique. Like all newlyweds, there comes a time to start thinking about having children. In September of 2013 everything changed for the couple. With the medical history of her family, Jen decided that she needed to take extra precautions before trying to get pregnant. The last step she took was to get a mammogram, and this ended up saving her life.
This is really important for all women. Originally it was suggested for women to get their first mammogram at the age of forty. They have now incredibly moved that age to forty-five. Jen wants all women to know to get it done earlier. If she hadn’t gone for that mammogram at the age of thirty, she would have never known that she was suffering from stage one breast cancer, since she had no symptoms. The day they found out was the day that they planned to start trying to get pregnant.
On October 25, 2013, Jen had a bilateral mastectomy at Forsyth Medical Park, and one of her nurses was my wife, Katie. She would have had the surgery earlier, but the couple decided to freeze embryos, just in case. Jen had pretty intense rehab in November and December of 2013, and she ended up losing sixteen pounds. During that rehab, George and Jen met with a dietitian and that meeting changed their future.
George has been a type one diabetic and insulin dependent since the age of nine. Jen would eat fast food twice a day before she was diagnosed with cancer. The two binge-watched Netflix documentaries about healthy eating habits like Forks Over Knives, Hungry for Change, and GMO-OMG. Jen also credits The Anti-Estrogenic Diet by Ori Hofmekler, which was the first book she read after being diagnosed, as being a huge help in their change. On December 02, 2013, Jen got the fantastic news that she was officially cancer free.
They found out that smoothies weren’t enough, and George started to research how to make organic cold-pressed juices. They found out that the community of Winston-Salem didn’t have the type of organic foods that Jen needed for her diet. George and Jen began to make cold-pressed drinks out of their Ardmore house. They also made healthier, organic meals at home. If they were heading out of town for a trip, they would make enough meals to last the entire vacation, since it is so hard to find truly organic meals at restaurants, except in places like Asheville.
George pressed Jen like a drill sergeant to make sure she stuck to the regimen, and he made sure to eat the same meals. 2015 was a year of change for the Memory couple. George started to sell his cold-pressed juices to the Winston-Salem community. He left his job at Stephens to start selling them full-time. First he had a cart that he would set up at Stella’s Brew on Hawthorne Road and at the Tanglewood Farmer’s Market. They would press the juices late at night at Tarts Sweets Bakery across the street from Stella’s. Later in 2015, Tart’s moved downtown to a bigger location and the Memory’s knew it was time to open up their first shop.
On November 19, 2015 they officially opened Organix Juice Bar at 1318 S. Hawthorne Road, which just happens to be next door to where George and Jen had their first date. The juice bar uses organic, non-gmo fruits and vegetables from local farmers like Faucette Farms, Plum Granny, Fair Share, and Coltrane Farms. George is receiving 2,000 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables per week. He puts in over eighty hours of work per week, pressing the juices, selling them at the shop, and delivering them on Tuesday’s to places like Wake Forest, Salem College, and several local businesses. He has the help of Jen and his mom, Katherine Memory, but they hope to hire more workers soon.
The shop has board games like Checkers and Jenga on the tables, and log chairs at the bar along the window. Keeping with the Winston-Salem theme, the drinks have names like the ardmore, the west end, the camel city, and the old salem. The juices come at a premium, but it is well-worth the expense. Jen says, “one of my mottos is that I would rather pay for the juice than pay $15,000 later for chemo treatment.” The couple not only support local organic farmers, but they also donate proceeds to a non-for-profit group each month.
In 2015, Jen also switched jobs and pursued her dreams. After doing photography part-time, she finally had enough of a clientele to leave her job at Monkee’s and start her own company, Inspired Memory’s Photography. She has an office at their Ardmore house, but the majority of her job is on location. She specializes in high school seniors, family photos, and head-shots and does several local events. Just this past week the blog, Triad Moms on Main, awarded Jen as their favorite photographer of Winston-Salem, which is voted on by members of the community. In 2015, Jen was also honored as the “Susan G. Komen Survivor of the Year” for the Northwest, which covers twenty-three North Carolina counties.
2016 looks to be another exciting year for the Memory family as they look to expand their businesses, but they also are hoping they can expand their family. Like many breast cancer survivors, Jen’s oncologist put her on Tamoxifen for ten years, which women can’t take when trying to get pregnant. The family made a deal with the oncologist that if her blood work looked okay after two years, they could go off of the Tamoxifen for a year to try to get pregnant. Jen has to go in so they can check her blood work every three months.
George and Jen are hoping that they can start to try to get pregnant this coming October. Their story still continues, and hopefully in 2017 the next chapter will be a third member of the family.