It was a year ago that our corporate sponsor, White House | Black Market, partnered with us for a call-out to honor and highlight 25 inspiring women who are living beyond breast cancer. All 25 women were dolled up for an expense-paid photo shoot and then featured in White House | Black Market’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month catalog.
Wonder how the experience changed the women over the last year? Let’s hear Lisa Marsella’s story:
Breast Cancer can do an awful lot of damage to one’s self esteem. There are so many physical transformations that come along with a breast cancer diagnosis. Losing all or part of your breast or breasts can be devastating in and of itself; but add to that weight gain, and hair loss and you can find yourself feeling lost in your own skin. Trying to feel beautiful and desirable is very hard even under the best of circumstances but adding to all of this fatigue, pain and depression and boy oh boy you’ll find that your self esteem has left the building. This is where I found myself prior to July 2, 2010.
Then along came LBBC and White House | Black Market to the rescue. What a marriage of hope, strength, and beauty! Imagine the idea of these two amazing organizations coming together and selecting 25 breast cancer survivors to be fashion ambassadors – and me being one of them.
July 2, 2010 was a dream comes true – one I still haven’t awoken from. Along with 24 other amazing and inspiring women, I posed for the 25th anniversary catalog for WHBM. It was two days of living between the moon and NYC. The day started out with an appearance on the Early Show, followed by a professional photo shoot in a studio overlooking the amazing Hudson River. Hair, make-up, wardrobe, followed by lights, camera, action! There we all were: 25 amazingly, strong, confident, and inspiring women dressed in beautiful clothing. We were showcased for the world to see! We were surrounded by angels on earth. Everyone involved in this project was a part of something magical; each of us united in support and commitment to a cause that touches so many lives. There were people from all races, religions, and backgrounds. There were professionals working in all capacities to achieve the final product – a spectacular catalog and video that put a beautiful face dressed in elegant clothing to an ugly disease like breast cancer.
25 women came together as strangers with a common bond and left as sisters with a lifetime connection. Over the past year the Forever 25, as we are now known, have lost 2 of our sisters. Vivian and Lori are our beautiful angels who have gone to a better place. One thing that doesn’t go unsaid is that they certainly left this earth with an abundance of self-esteem. On that magical day in July 2010 we were made to remember how special and beautiful each of us are despite breast cancer. That is what makes July 2nd a special day for me. It’s a day for me to remember that I am still beautiful and desirable despite having breast cancer.
To hear more about Lisa’s personal journey with breast cancer, visit our website for her short video on her perspective toward her metastatic breast cancer diagnosis.