There are 100k+ health activists in our network who spend countless hours pulling together amazing events to spread awareness, hope and raise money.
AnnMarie is one of those patient advocates out there making a difference.
The following blog post has been written by AnneMarie and depicts a gorgeous event she held to help empower women. We may not have had the pleasure of attending the event in person, but if you take a scroll through the photos that were captured it’s easy to see what the energy was in that room.
This is a perfect example of a patient impacting the lives of so many! We’re happy to highlight this wonderful event here on the blog today.
By AnneMarie Otis
It all started when I was DX with lymphedema and I thought this sucks.
No really wearing this ugly sleeve sucks. I feel like a patient every damn day.
I wanted to still have style so I found Lymphedivas. And behold they had everything I needed in a sleeve-style, swag, comfy and they fit my personality.
I wondered how many others knew about them. As I researched, I found more and more stylish items to make this crappy disease a little less crappy and a little more fashionista.
AnaOno has a line that is so cute who can tell it has drain holders?
I had to share this.
So I contacted Lisa Butler of Syracuse Fashion Week and she said let’s do this. A fashion show where all the models have had cancer or are dealing with it and they will be rocking items that helps them through treatment.
BRILLIANT. Now to get the community on board.
I reached out to my connections. Within days, I had models that were willing to go outside their element and reclaim the runway. To regain a little of themselves on that catwalk. They were excited, nervous and honored to be part.
One of my dear friends, Donna, was ready to strut even though her Stage 4 diagnosis had taken a turn and she was in the hospital. Donna died one week before the show, but her spirit and energy were clearly there that day as we all felt her Bronx strong attitude.
The models needed pampering, so Lisa reached out to her team and Shannon pulled together a group of kick ass makeup and hair stylists. They all were eager to do whatever each model wanted this was about them, it was their day.
Our desserts were amazing and Half Moon Bakery and Bistro fit all taste buds with a regular, vegan and gluten free cakes!
Did I say that their services were donated!? Yes, the community believed in this so much they donated their amazing talent. And I have not even talked about what the models wore yet!
Each model walked twice and they got to keep everything, yes everything!
So the fantastic clothes that help them through treatment they do not have to give back, amazing right?
Circles of Change reminded woman that everybody is beautiful and the we are strong!
The show ended with a BANG. Two time cancer survivor came out with her chest painted in a black tutu. She empowered everyone that scars to not make us who we are not even for a moment.
Carmelo’s Ink City did a spectacular job with the amount of time he had!
This event gave woman hope that they can still be super cute even though they feel horrible.
NO, it will not cure cancer, but it can have them gain a little of themselves back. It brought together a fashion community to the cancer community raising money for Cancer Connects which keeps it in our town. Part of the money did go to Jill’s Wish too which helps on a national level.
It is events like this that show we can make a difference, we can take some of ourselves back from cancer and we can do it with style!
Reclamation Runway is about reclaiming yourself, regaining what cancer took away.
Finding yourself in the middle of fear, sadness and anger and turning that into power.
And that is exactly what it did.
Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer is my fierce and unconventional initiative to promote awareness and advocacy, with a special focus on how the disease impacts younger people. Bringing awareness to cancer in the late stages has become my prime focus followed by the after effects. It is time for a change. On behalf of my organization, I have been featured in area publications, appeared on TV, local radio, and Huff Post Live, and hosts a series of monthly events. Since its inception almost in 2012, Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer has raised and contributed over $270,000 to a variety of breast cancer organizations, including Stand Up to Cancer, Duke Hospital, Wilmot Cancer Center, the Upstate Cancer Center, Cancer Connects, and the Maureen’s Hope Foundation. I am currently serving as Community manager for wisdo.com and social media coordinator at LyfeBulb.