In a brave, must-read editorial for The New York Times, Angelina Jolie reveals that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy earlier this year to reduce her risk of breast cancer. Jolie explains that it was her mother, who died of breast cancer at 56, who motivated her to take charge of her health. The actress, director and humanitarian explains that she is a carrier of a “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which puts her at an estimated 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer .
Jolie hopes that sharing her story will encourage others to be proactive about their own health:
“I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.
…For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”
We here at FITNESS applaud Jolie’s decision to take preventative measures against cancer and to use her celebrity to encourage other women to do the same. We’ve been inspired by other women who also chose to have preemptive mastectomies: our marketing manager, Kristin Guinan, who underwent the same procedure at age 27, and marathoner, soldier and mom Margaret Smith who decided to forgo reconstructive surgery after her mastectomy.
Early detection and action are important, and it is up to us to take control. In Angelina Jolie’s words: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
- How to Do a Breast Self-Exam
- What You Need to Know to Prevent Breast Cancer
- “Why I Gave up My Breasts”
- “My Battle with Breast Cancer”
Written by Carrie Stevens, editorial intern
Sadly, chances are most of us know someone who’s been affected by breast cancer. Many of us know about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk program to help raise funds in the fight against the deadly disease. But a new campaign has come to town for the younger women looking to get involved—Young Women Walking (YW2)—and we’re ready to don our hottest pink hues in support.
Designed for women between the ages of 16 and 23, YW2 lets participants experience one day of the Komen 3-Day walk. While the 3-Day walk has women cover 60 miles in three days and raise $2,300, the YW2 contingent will clock 20 miles and raise $750. Sounds like a great way to dip your toes into the water, right?
Here’s what we really love: While spending the day alongside their elders, the YW2 girls learn breast cancer facts and discuss action steps necessary to reduce their own risk. Forget the clichés: knowledge is power.
Oh, and don’t forget about the after party! After completing a day on their feet, walkers celebrate with a pink (of course!) party and enjoy well-earned foot massages, inspirational speakers and a dance party.
Now you tell us: What’s the farthest you’ve walked in one day?
One week ago, tragedy struck at the Boston Marathon finish line when two bombs exploded and changed the lives of thousands. Through the fear and grief though, is strength in numbers. The fitness community is a tough one, and people are coming out of the woodwork from every part of the world to lend a helping hand. Here, a few of our favorite initiatives:
Boston Strong Necklace, Erica Sara Designs
Featured in our March running guide, Erica Sara Designs delivers high-quality, personalized jewelry for every occasion, but the designer (ahem: Erica) behind the business loves to help those in need whenever she finds a few spare minutes. A runner herself, there’s no way she could sit back and watch the tragedy unfold without figuring out a way to help.
Enter the Boston Strong necklace. For the month of April, 100 percent of the proceeds made from the purchase of this necklace will go directly to The One Fund. Same goes for the Every Mile Counts necklace. Furthermore, The One Fund is now a part of ESD’s awareness program for April, so if you purchase a piece from the Awareness Collection, simply choose The One Fund as your choice of charity, and 20 percent of the net proceeds will be donated at the end of the month. Now’s the time to get that commemorative bling you’ve always wanted.
A global event started by the blogger behind Pavement Runner, runners from around the world will unite with those in their city tonight to dedicate miles. More than 2,500 participants in 80 cities are already joining the movement, and you should too. The plan is simple: run 1 mile, 5 miles or 26.2 miles – however many you want – “to demonstrate love of the sport and most importantly love for the fallen and the wounded.”
Here in NYC? Meet captain Abby Bales from Run Stronger Every Day in Central Park at Tavern on the Green at 6:30p.m. There will be a walking and running group, and participants are asked to wear a race shirt, bib, or blue and yellow (Boston’s colors). There will also be T-shirts sold for $20, and all proceeds go to The One Fund.
To find out where your city will meet, click here.
Tribute Wristlets, Run Now
Awareness bracelets still catch eyes, and this one sporting Boston’s colors is sure to be an attention-grabber. All proceeds benefit The One Fund, and at $1.99 per wristlet, Run Now hopes to raise $1 million by National Running Day on June 5. Companies like Brooks, Map My Fitness and Run Rock ‘n’ Roll are all a part of the effort. After you buy a bracelet, tweet why running is so important to you using the hashtag #runnow.
Want more reason to keep running? Run Now is also pledging free race entries to 4,500 Boston Marathon participants who were diverted prior to reaching the finish line. Read more
As you’ve seen from watching major sporting events (or if you’re like me and my physical therapist, on a personal level) sports injuries can range from mildly annoying to career-stopping, which is why we’re big on proper warm-ups, stretching and listening to your body. This April is National Youth Sports Safety Month and tennis pro Sloane Stephens has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson to promote the new Donate a Photo app and the organization Safe Kids Worldwide. With the free Donate a Photo app, all you have to do is share a photo and J&J will donate $1 to the charity of your choice.
Like any athlete, Stephens stresses the importance of staying injury-free, which is why she chose to work with Safe Kids Worldwide. The organization helps teach kids, and their parents and coaches, how to protect against sports injuries at Safe Kids Sports Clinics. “Staying injury free is important to me and I want to help kids know what to do and stay preventative,” she said. The pro swears by proper warm-ups before training and icing after workouts to stay in top shape.
All you need to do is download the free app on your iPhone or Android, upload a photo (you can share up to one a day, every day) and a donation will be made. You can also view other shared photos at the Donate a Photo gallery and learn more about the campaign here.
More from FITNESS:
The next time you get the itch for a sweet treat, cave in for a good cause. In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month (FYI: One American is diagnosed every nine minutes), Magnolia Bakery has teamed up with the Michael J. Fox Foundation on a limited-edition cupcake, available online and sold in stores throughout April. For $1.75, you can support the MJFF and Parkinson’s disease research for new treatments and ultimately–a cure.
More from FITNESS: A New Way to Get Inspired to Race This Spring
Spring has sprung! New York City is finally seeing some sunlight and warm temps this week—and what better way to celebrate than with SoulCycle and Friends of the High Line on Thursday night. If you’ve ever visited Manhattan, you know that one of the must-see stops on the tourist to-do list is checking out the new and improved High Line. Quick history lesson: Back in the mid-1800′s the High Line was a railway that ran on the lower west side of the city delivering meat, produce and raw goods throughout the Meatpacking District. But over time as trucking became the more widely used mode of transportation for manufacturers the High Line stopped running as frequently and was overcome by grass, weeds, shrubs and trees. During Manhattan’s reformative years of the 1990′s, many lobbied for the High Line to be demolished as it was becoming an overgrown sight for sore eyes. Thankfully, Friends of the High Line saw this 1-mile stretch as an opportunity for an unique urban project that could one day become a linear park—a walking greenway for locals to enjoy and hopefully add to the many charms of New York City.
Friends of the High Line advocated for preservation of the land and in June 2011 the 1-mile redesign of the High Line as we know it today was complete. This Thursday, April 11, Soul Cycle and Friends of the High Line have teamed up for a once-in-a-lifetime event to honor this rare beauty in our bustling city. Tickets start at a hefty $500 but all proceeds will be donated back to the Friends of the High Line to help keep the park clean, plants beautiful, and continue the widespread free activities that go on throughout the year. The 6:30 PM class is taught by master instructors Laurie Cole and Stacey Griffith, so you’re in for a double treat.
I can’t remember what it was like before the High Line, when on nice days my husband and I would read the paper and drink coffee on the many lounge chairs Friends of the High Line have provided us. Or when I have visitors in town and the High Line isn’t the first stop on our must-see trip—it always is. Spots like the beautiful High Line in New York City are hidden gems and bring so much happiness to anyone who has an opportunity to visit.
For more info and to register for a bike, visit SoulCycle on the High Line to Benefit Friends of the High Line! See you there!
As we fit gals know, there are few things more powerful than a good sweat. The adrenaline rush, tight-knit team camaraderie and sense of accomplishment athletics provide can turn any negative into a glowing positive. It is for this reason that we give the new bag brand Activyst a big thumbs up for their mission to support girls’ sports programs worldwide. With a belief that active girls are a catalyst for change, every sale makes a difference in their partner-focused funding. The adorable vibrant colored bags are made of durable, waterproof macen, a popular material used in the brand’s Nicaragua birthplace. Tote your sneaks, yoga mat and change of clothes in style, while giving girls the opportunity to blossom into strong, active women. Here’s to jocks supporting future exercise junkies!
To buy a bag of your own and learn more about using sports as the solution, check out Activyst’s website.
While we love watching country crooner Blake Shelton on The Voice, it’s his spitfire wife, Miranda Lambert, that we are dying to know better. A well-known animal activist, she made our hearts swell as we learned about her involvement with Pedigree’s Pet Feeding Project, which provides dog food to animal shelters across the country at no cost. With Nashville and Chicago already being served, Pedigree turned to their Facebook fans to help determine which city would be next. People all over the U.S. nominated hometowns, and then voted, to select the top five finalists:
- Metro Detroit/Metro Flint, Michigan
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- Jackson, Mississippi
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Wausau, Wisconsin
Now it’s your turn to vote again, until April 12th, to help Pedigree narrow it down to the two winning cities, which will be announced in mid-2013. While we wait, we talked to Lambert about her soon-to-be-released sophomore album with band Pistol Annies, why she thinks this cause is so important and what it’s like to have her hubby swirlin’ around in a big red chair every week.
I hear you have a new album coming out with Pistol Annies?
Yep! I’m very excited about that. In the video for “Taking Pills” [from first album Hell on Heels], two of my rescue muts have cameos throughout the song. They’re like mini Annies, too.
Editor’s note: Their new album, Annie Up, hits shelves May 7!
What about a personal album? Can we expect one anytime soon?
Hopefully I’ll have one out in early 2014.
Your other half, Blake Shelton, is a judge again on The Voice. What is that experience like? Do you get to go to the set a lot and hang out?
I go to the set on the live shows. The reality stuff and the auditions are long, long days and frankly, it’s boring for me to just sit there and wait for them to get done. But I love the live shows; the energy of it. The Voice is very family-friendly. You see all of the judges and Carson [Daly]‘s kids running around – families, moms, wives, husbands. Everyone who works there is so nice. So it’s really welcoming, and I love to go there because they make you feel really at home.
Do you think you would be a guest mentor again?
I would love to be a mentor. The first year I performed with Dia [Frampton], and then the second year I was a mentor. I just watched as a fan the third season, and it was really fun to do that, so maybe it will be time for me to do something again. I tapped Blake on the shoulder and was like, “I know people…can I get back on The Voice somehow?” We’ll see.
To celebrate 10 incredible years of the More® Magazine/Fitness® Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon, we’re honoring Women who Run the World—fearless game-changers who’ve paved the way for women over the last decade. These leaders will no doubt inspire you to run faster, train harder and work smarter.
From a U.S. Congressman to the CEO of Girl Scouts USA to a co-host from “The View,” these women are changing the face of business, education, women’s health, sports, and more. We’re thrilled to welcome these leaders to the biggest women’s-only half-marathon in the country!
As you train for your 13.1 mile journey, we want to know: Who inspires you to “run the world”? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook, or through Twitter. (Please us the hashtag #womenruntheworld.)
We all have different motivations behind our fitness goals. Regardless of what they are, we’re happy to have you join us in getting fit and strong. Which is why we were touched after seeing Dick’s Sporting Goods’ “Every Runner Has a Reason” campaign. Each week for 13 weeks, Dick’s is sharing a runner’s story about why they’re lacing up and getting on the road. This week’s video is about Sally, who was encouraged by her friend Lisa to start running to help cope with her husband’s death from melanoma. She’s gone from barely running a mile to completing marathons. Watch it below and head over to DicksSportingGoods.com in the next 12 weeks for more moving stories.
(You might want to have tissues handy for this.)
Now tell us: Why do you run?