Alice Budno Hope is one of five vibrant and strong women selected to represent Living Beyond Breast Cancer during Fashion Bug’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaign. Throughout October the women’s clothing store, with nearly 700 stores across the United States, will support LBBC by donating 100% of proceeds from the sale of a one-of-a-kind inspirational tee and by asking their shoppers to make a contribution by rounding up their purchase to the next whole dollar.
For women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, October is often a month filled with emotion. While every woman expresses their approach to the month differently, Alice reminds us of what enticed her sense of taste. The taste of fear came lurking after Alice’s breast cancer diagnosis.
I am honored and humbled to be one of the five women chosen for Fashion Bug’s Breast Cancer awareness campaign to support Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The experience has introduced me to so many fabulous people and allowed me to be featured on a billboard in Times Square! Can’t beat that!
The idea of the five senses became an alluring theme. Each of us have a breast cancer story, of course. But from person to person, our story is a reflection of one ideal sense that created the most appealing significance in our individual journeys. For me, it was my ability to taste.
Prior to my diagnoses in May of 2006 I was tasting… a lot…of food! I was 31 years old and 28 weeks pregnant with my son, Hunter. I had just lost my Dad a few weeks prior to my diagnosis. My taste for life was just rebounding a bit and then – BAM! How could this happen? What would happen to my baby? It was all a swirl of madness and a week after my diagnosis I was operated on…on my birthday.
When I returned from the OR and a white box was delivered. I opened the box to discover the hospital had sent me a birthday cake. I certainly did not have a taste for my birthday that year. I recovered nicely, enjoying the tastes of all of the foods that were steaming into my home, donated by people I barely knew, who have since become my closest friends. Maybe I could regain my taste…through the help of others.
Two months after surgery my mouth would again water, thanks to the delightful smell of my blessed son, Hunter Louis, born happy, healthy, and on time. His first taste in life was breast milk – ironic thought my Doctors. They said I would not be able to sustain him on half power! How wrong they were! My beautiful son nursed for five months, on my terms!
For the next several months I had a taste of fear. A fear of recurrence. I made the decision to have a prophylactic second mastectomy, on my terms. I lost the taste for fear. I had no time for cancer in my life.
And here I am, 5+ years later. I have a zesty taste for life. I love to educate young women about breast cancer. One of the main things that I aimed to show through my participation in the Fashion Bug Photo Shoot was: “your life can go on after a cancer diagnosis.”
I have tasted my children’s birthday cakes, my friends’ wedding cakes, wonderful dinners with my husband, and lots of wine with my mom, and so much more. I look forward to tasting the graduation cakes of my children, their wedding cakes, my husband’s retirement cake and my 80th birthday cake…at minimum!
Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fashion Bug stores will donate 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of an Inspirational Screen Tee to support our educational resource Guide for the Newly Diagnosed and LBBC’s Survivors’ Helpline, a personalized matching service that connects women in similar circumstances in a confidential setting.