Last weekend, I had the opportunity that most women won’t get in their lifetime. And what an extraordinary experience it was! I got my body painted (by the most amazing artist Wendy Fantasia) for a fantastic initiative called So Brave, a group who create a calendar of young body painted breast cancer survivors to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. The most fantastic part about it all though, is that it empowers young breast cancer survivors (like me) by making them feel beautiful and complete despite their breast cancer experience.
The models in the calendar are all women who have been diagnosed under 40 and what amazed me when talking to Rachelle the founder of So Brave (who was a cancer victim herself and a model in last year’s calendar), is that each year they have an incredible amount of women apply. The statistics are astounding and while we know that women do get diagnosed under 40, it is amazing how many there actually are and within those under 40’s, so many don’t actually have a family history.
Which makes this project even more important to me as it is really aimed at getting the message out there that cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any age regardless of family history. I say this in the hope that we can raise a generation of women who are aware early of the risks of breast cancer and take it upon themselves to be breast aware. By that I mean, knowing what feels normal or not in their body and making regular breast checks something they automatically do as part of their health routine. Early detection saved my life and I want to make sure that it saves other women’s’ lives too.
So my amazing weekend began with a super fun launch/ fundraiser night for the calendar and I was overwhelmed with the support of my beautiful friends (I love you all and if I haven’t said so to you yet – thank you for coming!!). I can’t thank them enough for getting behind this fabulous cause and for coming along (even some with raffle prizes in hand) to have a girl’s night in. I was also touched by the many women who didn’t know me who came along to support the So Brave venture. The Coolangatta Sands put on a great function and it wouldn’t have been the success it was without the organisation of my beautiful friend Elizabeth. What a generous soul you are!
So I awoke bright and early on Saturday morning and headed over to my friend’s house to commence the long day of painting, interviewing and photoshooting. It was incredible what emotions this experience brought out and now I understand on a different level how therapeutic this experience can be for breast cancer survivors.
Not only was I bearing my battle scars to others but I was being brave enough to have them painted and shown to the world. I must admit that I did hesitate in taking part in this venture as I was worried about how I would look physically. I felt vulnerable and nervous and didn’t want to humiliate myself. But then I thought about my passion to help women find their beauty again post cancer and I realised that I had to practice what I preach. I have to show that I feel beautiful in my skin with my own battle scars before I can try to convince others to do the same.
For those of you that know me you’re probably thinking, oh yeah, Gen, that’s right down her alley, she’d be all over that nudity thing haha but to tell you the truth… it is hard for me to look at my scars and think that I am a beautiful woman. It’s damn tough. But I knew I had to do this. Yes, I like to think that I can feel beautiful in clothes but naked is a different thing. I knew I had to be courageous enough to start believing that scars and all, I am beautiful. I did honestly look at myself at the end of the day and I genuinely saw beauty. And that in itself to me was both astonishing and satisfying.
My weekend was then topped of on Mother’s Day with this gorgeous bunch of friends and followers participating in the Mother’s Day Classic supporting Leave Me Breastless. There’s something wonderful about uniting as a team as it brings a feeling of togetherness and friendship. I felt so honoured that there were people out there who were proud to stand alongside me and support this cause which has my heart.
I guess it goes without saying that my feeling of exhaustion on Sunday night was off the charts…but it was all totally worth it. You, my Leave Me Breastless followers, have given me the confidence to participate in this amazing So Brave project and for that I am immensely grateful. I hope that through my courage, other women feed confident enough to believe in their beauty. I encourage you all to visit the So Brave website and purchase your 2018 calendar in which I will be featuring AAh – still can’t quite believe it…. Pre-sale closes 25 May at 5pm so buy your $25 copy of the calendar today!
Today I show you some great tops I found at H & M while I was in Sydney. Affordable and perfect for the breastless chest. The first one is black lace and hides the flat chest perfectly. The second is a combination of frill and pattern while is doubly perfect for distracting the eye. Forgive my tired face…it’s been a big week. Accessoried again by the fabulous Adorne.
Here are some other great H & M tops which would be perfect.
Have a wonderful week,
I am breastless and beautiful,