Eloise Caggiano is the program director for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and a 7-year breast cancer survivor herself. Below, she shares her story as well as what to say and do if someone you know has been diagnosed.
I was a 33-year-old woman living in New York City with great friends, an active social life, a successful career in public relations, two marathons under my belt and a gym membership card tattered from overuse. All was well in my world. Then I received my breast cancer diagnosis and everything changed. My life was consumed with fighting breast cancer–five surgeries, four months of chemotherapy, shedding my long hair and definitely some tears.
Once I was diagnosed and going through treatments, I could have easily wallowed in my misery, complained, and stayed home feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I chose to get up every day like a “normal” person, get dressed, pop on my wig, and go to work. It wasn’t always easy and I had to adjust my workload because I didn’t always feel well and was pretty tired, but I knew if I went to work it would make the day go faster, I’d feel more productive and chances are, at some point during the day someone would make me laugh. None of that would happen if I stayed home on my couch by myself. It was important to me to keep as many things as “normal” as possible — I wanted to feel like I still had some normalcy in my life, like going to work, going to the gym, spending time with friends.
October has become a sea of pink. From NFL uniforms to charity concerts and more, breast cancer awareness is doing just that–making everyone, everywhere aware. You may know causes and initiatives like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Avon Foundation and more, but there are tons of ways you can get involved this month. To help you not get overwhelmed on where to give or how to help, check out these causes and sites below:
1. Support the newly diagnosed: Women who are dealing with breast cancer need a support system, and while friends and family may provide that, most can’t relate to what their loved one is going through. If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed, recommend mybcteam.com, a social network strictly for women battling the disease. You can search for women in your area, read their stories, get doctor recommendations and even what medications they’ve tried to connect and get help, both medically and emotionally. Read more
Have you ever felt the urge to watch a film that’s all about women and everything we have to deal with simply because of our gender? The movies that are created by women, for women, sometimes know exactly how to tug at our heart strings and remind us that we’re not the only ones going through something with major impact. And LUNAFEST wants to help remind women that those films are out there, ready to be watched. In fact, if you’re in San Francisco, you can start watching nine new films with these messages tonight at the 12th annual LUNAFEST kickoff event!
LUNAFEST is a traveling film-festival that hosts award-winning short films created by, for and about women. This year’s flicks center around hope, humor and reflection. Sound like your cup of tea, but you’re not anywhere near San Francisco? That’s OK! Women can host their own festival throughout October. And if you do, you’ll get a double-dose of warm fuzzies: all events hosted throughout October help raise money and awareness for the Breast Cancer Fund.
If the urge strikes past October though, you haven’t missed your opportunity. LUNAFEST travels to over 150 cities to raise funds for local non-profits. Do a good deed while watching an inspiring movie? Now that’s a night we don’t want to miss.
Visit the LUNAFEST website for more information on where the festival will travel to and how you can get involved.
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Written by Deanna Cioppa, editorial intern
If there’s one thing we like better than shopping for new workout clothes, it’s taking part in a worthy cause. Now entering its third year, PUMA’s Project Pink has kicked off ahead of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the sale of its Project Pink line of clothing at Shop.PUMA.com, Soccer.com and other retailers. The brand has pledged 100 percent of profits (up to $120,000) to a breast cancer charity that YOU get to help choose.
Now through September 21, visit puma.com/projectpink to nominate a breast cancer charity close to your heart. Then, starting September 24, cast your vote for the winner, to be announced in October at the Project Pink Charity Soccer Game in Los Angeles. Last year, Project Pink donated over $100,000 to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. There’s money to be made for “the girls” here, so start nominating (and shopping!) today.
Looking for other ways to contribute? Hop on Twitter and use #projectpink in your tweets. PUMA will pledge an additional dollar for every tweet with the #projectpink hashtag. And check the calendar at puma.com/projectpink for Project Pink soccer tournaments with partner clubs around the country. Now at least you have an excuse to buy yet another pair of cute running shorts.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of jumping out of a plane at 6,000 feet is a little frightening. (It gives me flashbacks to my paragliding experience, but seems about five times scarier!) I think I might need a nudge to get me out of the plane door—or maybe a good cause to motivate me and put my worries in perspective.
Jump for the Cause (JFTC) participants are thinking about all of the women in their lives who have been touched by breast cancer each time they leave the plane or meet up for a training session. For them, breast cancer awareness doesn’t just pop up each October. It’s a year-round focus for the non-profit group of skydiving women, who chronicled their record-breaking attempt for largest all-women’s skydiving formation in the new documentary Pink Skies. Along the way, the 200 women from 31 countries across the globe raised nearly $1 million for breast cancer awareness, research and prevention.
The movie is about more than the jump, though. It includes interviews with survivors, researchers and doctors who share about their experiences and what we all can do to decrease our risk for breast cancer. Here are a few good places to start:
Get your DVRs ready: Pink Skies will air on Documentary Channel on Friday, March 16 at 8:30 p.m. E.T. Watch the trailer and find more information about the film here.
As October draws to a close, so will much of the discussion about “pink.” But women (and men) will be fighting the disease all year long, so here are two more resources that help fighters, survivors and researchers who are all working towards one common cause: a cure.
Yoga for Cancer Recovery: Cancer survivor and yoga instructor Claire Petretti created this workout DVD specifically for those going through treatment or recovering from cancer. She holds a Yoga for Cancer Therapy certification, and credits the practice with helping her bounce back from the disease, which she battled in 2010, stronger than ever. A portion of the proceeds from the DVD are being donated to cancer research organizations. ($19.99, oceansoulyoga.com) Scientific studies have proven the beneficial effects of yoga for cancer survivors!
- BreastCancerTrials.org: This non-profit aims to improve access to clinical trials so those affected by breast cancer can be aware of all of their options for treatment. Whether you’re interested in prevention-related trials or want to learn more about biological therapies (which can help those currently fighting discover the best treatment to block cancer cells’ ability to multiply) the resource can help you find it.
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Being that October is almost over, we thought it only appropriate to end the month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness on a pink note! I am normally not a pink person, but it is hard not to be during such a charitable month. My pink staple has always been hot pink sneakers. Whether the entire shoe is pink, or there is just a little hit of it in the laces, they’re fun, cool and keep me feeling girly while pumping some iron or running the streets of my neighborhood.
While there are only a few short days left in the month, there is still time to show your support for your neighbors, friends, sisters, mothers, daughters and any one else in your community by wearing pink during your daily workouts. Sneakers are a great way to add a pop of color to your look, and some of our favorite brands have some pretty sweet pink sneakers that I am definitely adding to my wish list!
- 1. Reebok Premier Zigfly ($100, reebok.com)
- 2. Nike Free Trainers ($85, nike.com)
- 3. Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 2 ($90, saucony.com)
- 4. Asics GEL-Blur 33 ($85, asics.com)
- 5. Adidas Marathon 10 ($80, shopadidas.com)
- 6.Brooks Glycerin 9 ($130, brooks.com)
- 7. Under Armour Micro G Stealth ($80, eastbay.com)
- 8. New Balance 890 ($100, shopnewbalance.com)
The 22-year-old rapper and America’s Best Dance Crew judge may project a tough image, but Lil Mama shows her more vulnerable side with her work to support breast cancer research and awareness. Here’s what the musician wants you to know about her recent projects, including how she uses her music to help others.
What new music have you been working on?
I recently released “NY, NY, LA, LA” with Snoop Dogg and “Hustler Girl” which is a song that celebrates hardworking women everywhere.
Tell us more about your work with the Tigerlily Foundation to support breast cancer research.
After my mom passed away [in 2007], I wanted to use my voice to raise awareness. I’m working with World Music for the Cure which will support the Tigerlily Foundation. I’m working on new music for the CD, and the proceeds from it will go towards breast cancer research.
You lost your mom to breast cancer at a young age. How did this affect you in terms of how you think about your health and lifestyle?
It definitely made me eat differently. When my mother was diagnosed, she changed her diet and ate more vegetables, replaced red meats with chicken and fish and had to be more strict with herself. I realized I have to do that, too. I try to eat well and exercise to be healthy.
Written by Alyssa Belanger, editorial intern
All month long, we’ve been highlighting ways to help support breast cancer awareness. And when we saw Giuliana Rancic, young and vibrant, announce this morning on The Today Show that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a striking reminder that there’s still a lot of work to do to prevent the disease from affecting more women.
The apparel company 15Love has teamed up with Equinox fitness clubs nationwide and Pure Yoga studios of New York City to offer special pink sports bras during October. Ten percent of sales of 15Love’s special line of sports bras, seen at left, will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
Since the founding of BCRF in 1992, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has grown tremendously. Thanks to the support of fundraisers like 15Love, the foundation has been able to increase its annual funding by more than 200 times over and is currently financing 186 scientists in 12 countries worldwide! Scientists funded by BCRF have led the way in discovering more about genetic links to breast cancer, preventative measures and treatments for breast cancer.
These sports bras are a fitting way to donate to BCRF because they may give you that extra push you need to hit the gym (cute new gym wear always makes us want to get out and show it off!). And according to recent studies, just four hours of physical activity each week can help boost your body’s immune system while lowering estrogen levels and your risk of developing breast cancer.
You can get your 15Love bra, available in pink with interchangeable striped or cheetah print straps, for $53 at any Equinox location or a Pure Yoga Studio in New York City.
More from FITNESS: Know what’s normal (and what’s not) with our guide to healthy breasts.
Written by Alyssa Belanger, editorial intern
When it comes to supporting the cause this month, the number of ways to get involved are nearly unlimited. But here’s one more just in case you’ve missed out on the other opportunities—iRenew’s limited edition pink wellness bracelets.
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month and the company’s dedication to promoting healthy lifestyles, iRenew has launched its new line of pink wellness bracelets to support breast cancer research. Show off your support for BCA and get your bracelet branded with the breast cancer ribbon at retailers like K-Mart, CVS, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and many more for less than $19.99.
On top of making a fashionable statement for a good cause, the company will donate 15 percent of the proceeds from the limited edition wellness bracelets to The Donna Foundation’s 26.2 with Donna Finish Breast Cancer National Marathon.
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