I attended the Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness, South Florida in 2018 for the second time. The first time I attended was over a decade ago when my mother was a model of hope. May of 2019 was the third time I attended and this year, I was honored to participate as a model of hope in the final part of the event, the fashion show. Per the rules, this experience is a one time offering although I do wish my mom and I could have done it together.
Hope is a funny thing sometimes. I think the purpose of including “models of hope” is to not only give survivors a fun day focused on them and celebrating the fact that we’re all still alive but also to show others that it is possible to participate as a model and look beautiful even while recovering from a diagnosis of breast cancer and all the treatments we undergo. We got our makeup and hair done by professionals and we were treated to outfits designed just for us by some truly amazing women who gave selflessly of their time and talents.
At the end of the day, it’s still hard for me to participate in events geared towards survivors. And by survivors, I mean people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. I know that when my mom was a model, it was incredibly empowering for her to participate, to punctuate the end of her treatment. Yet, I will never be able to do that because I will never be done with treatment. I look at these experiences so differently now that I’m living with a terminal diagnosis.
I am thankful for the opportunity to bring awareness to the experiences of women living with and beyond the diagnosis of breast cancer. I’m grateful to have met some amazing women who also participated as models and the women who ran the event. Just about all of the women who planned and put on the event had modeled at some point after their treatment ended. This speaks to the incredible camaraderie developed from working on a common goal, that of raising awareness about breast cancer and celebrating those who live with it.
The Day of Caring is a worthy endeavor for early stage survivors and is a great learning opportunity for both patients and medical professionals. I didn’t get to attend the seminars this year because the morning was wholly taken up with makeup and hair ministrations, but I learned a lot last year!