October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast Cancer Awareness month aims to highlight the importance of attending breast screenings in detecting breast cancer as early as possible and increasing the chances of successfully managing and treating the disease.
It is a month that reminds each of us of the lives we have lost due to this disease and to those fighting it currently.
Every October since I was younger, I would wear pink to celebrate and I would join the world as recognize how this impacts others. We do a great job through many companies including the NFL and local schools. However if I being honest, growing up I didn’t really understand the importance of this month. I always stood by these women and men but I never was impacted too much growing up.
That has changed over the past couple of years.
Through Self Love Beauty I have met many inspiring women. I have come to learn about their journey but also their families journey. They are strong, courageous, and fearless warriors.
About a year ago, I met one incredible woman through a mutual friend. Kim was one of those people who you could tell was genuine. I met her adorable two girls and learned about her very supportive husband.
Recently she posted something on Breast Cancer Month that I thought was completely powerful and needed to be share with even more people:
“It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month………… Despite what marketing plans would like us to believe, Breast Cancer is far from pink and pretty. It is quite the opposite, actually. The scary truth is that every 3 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and every 13 minutes a woman loses her life to breast cancer! Of those diagnosed only 80% will have family history – I DID NOT! Mammograms are not recommended until age 40. In my case that is 8 YEARS before I discovered my lump. Be aware and check yourself! This isn’t about “saving 2nd base” or “saving the ta-ta’s.” These slogans are really quite offensive considering most of us survivors have lost them anyways. It’s about saving lives.”
Kim is right and sometimes we forget this. Sometimes I even forgot this.
Self Love Beauty recently hosted a Breast Cancer awareness photo shoot. We have never done this in the past but this year after being moved by so many inspiring women I knew I had to.
We worked with the outstanding Alisa Divine in Frankenmuth, MI and women of all ages, shapes and sizes came together and all with different backgrounds related to breast cancer. I learned so much that evening. I met women who were came out of their comfort zone in front of the camera, I learned about a scare a few of them had while they told me their stories in tears, I met families who have been impacted, I met survivors and learned about their journey.
I watched as Tina become completely vulnerable embracing her currently situation of having metastatic breast cancer (Stage 4). Tina is a warrior and fearless woman. She has taught me so much and still does.
I asked her why breast cancer awareness is so important to her, she responded with:
“Breast cancer awareness was important to me prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother-in-law fought breast cancer and in support of her, my family has been very active volunteering for Pink Ribbon Riders. Early detection is key. I am a strong supporter of mammograms. If one person tells me they went for a mammogram because of me, it makes my fight worth it.”
Tina is a mother of two with a supportive husband. Each time we talk, her positive attitude is so contagious.
Real Men Wear Pink
Recently, I was catching up with a close friend about life. He had no idea about the shoot coming up for Self Love Beauty but wanted to share with me about his excitement to be part of the “Real Men Wear Pink” campaign in our community. I wish I could have recorded him on the phone. His outstanding character made me realize even more how many people want to help.
Jeff share this with me and it was extremely powerful to me:
“The American Cancer Society approached me asking to participate in this year’s Real Men Wear Pink (RMWP) Campaign. When asked, I became overcome with emotions as I reflected on how cancer has impacted my life. Both of my parents were fortunate to win their respective battles with cancer and I know not all families are as lucky. Hearing the words, “you have cancer”, can immediate send your mind into a whirlwind, thinking the worst and feeling lost. My father was informed he had cancer via a voicemail. He dreaded returning that call, as he instantly felt alone and unsure of his future. ACS provides guidance and support for those going through the same feelings my father had.\
I have also witnessed the absolute worst of this awful disease. A very close client of mine recently lost their 28 year old daughter/granddaughter to breast cancer. Leaving behind her adorable little girl and a family that misses her each and every day.
As I reflected on these memories, I knew I had to do my small part to raise awareness and hopefully help find a cure so cancer could no longer be responsible for prematurely ripping families apart.”
Thank you to those who have allowed Self Love Beauty to share your stories and thank you to companies and others who have helped create awareness.
Through each encounter, through each story and through each journey, I have learned that pink is a symbol of strength, being fearless and a warrior. It is not about marketing; it is about helping other women attend breast screenings; it is about inspiring others; and it is about creating awareness.
Let’s continue to share stories, create change and be part of fighting this fight.