-This post has been sponsored by Lane Bryant. But as always, opinions are 1000% my own-
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one of the most important months of the year for me. Breast Cancer has made a permanent mark on my family’s legacy. On my 15th birthday, I remember losing my favorite aunt to breast cancer. I remember how confused I was. I remember understanding that she was sick, but never would I imagine that she would die. It was the first time I remember losing someone that I genuinely cared for. As the years went by, I started to lose more members of the Chanel family to breast cancer. With each diagnosis came a death shortly thereafter. Currently, I have two aunts in remission and I am happy they are still with us today. They live vibrant lives and my hope is that we can continue to celebrate their victories every day.
However, October always serves as a reminder for me to continue being an advocate for myself. While my mother tested negative for the BRCA gene mutations for type 1 and 2, we know that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take care of ourselves. Knowing the signs and regularly giving yourself breast exams are important. In fact, my aunt Marie reminds us to be mindful of our health, all the time. On the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s (BCRF) website, I found out so much about Breast Cancer research. Just recently I learned that “there are more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. and deaths from breast cancer have declined by nearly 40% over the last 25 years. But with 40,000 lives lost to the disease each year, there is still critical work to be done” – BCRF. I am happy to share that my aunts are two of the 3.8 million breast cancer survivors!
Today, I wanted to share some of the light that is my aunt, Marie Paul!
Marie Paul, affectionately known as “Tita”, is one of the most positive people I know. I don’t think there’s another person alive who comments on how beautiful I am. She honestly doesn’t know how that makes me feel. Tita is one of my mother’s closest friends. They are always on the phone together and praying together at church. During this photo shoot, Tita, my mother, and I got to talk about her battle with breast cancer and how she overcame thedarkest moment in her life.
Tita loves her family! “My husband and I have 4 beautiful kids: 2 daughters, and 2 sons. We also have 2 very friendly pitbulls Kyah and Boston. My kids are all very close and it brings me joy to see them all focused and doing well. We are a tight-knit family that always maintains contact with each other.”
A couple of years ago, I went for my yearly mammogram. I didn’t panic as soon as the doctor told me that I had breast cancer. I wanted to gather all of the information I needed to be healthy and beat cancer. I didn’t want it to beat me. I had a strong support system: husband, kids, friends, doctors, and my church family.
I remained hopeful and stayed positive throughout the entire process. My stable foundation and belief in God helped me get through those dark moments. With prayer from my family and help from my medical team, I continued to fight with lots of optimism. I had good days and bad days, but speaking with other survivors and receiving positive affirmations from my family members kept a smile on my face.
What brings me strength and happiness is spending time with family, praying, seeing my kids do positive things, and going to church. God gives me strength every day. I remember receiving a message from Him while watching a weekly Comcast advisory: Tribulation is a gift from God, the one that has more tribulation are the ones God loves more. I will never forget that. During that moment in my life, I needed to see that message.
Today, Tita is a staunch advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness . When I asked her to do this photo-shoot with me, she was elated but then asked , “I watch you partner with 100’s of brands, why Lane Bryant?“ I told her that for the past 4 years, Lane Bryant and its intimate apparel brand, Cacique Intimates, has supported the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) by generating donations to help fund lifesaving research.
Since she isn’t a big shopper, but she was so happy to hear that there are brands who care about this type of work ! Now she has a new place to shop with my mother on Sundays!
And if you’ve been on the blog before, you already that know me and mom love to partner up for Breast Cancer Awareness month, to honor our relatives of the past and those who are still with us today. So, if you get a chance, please head to Lane Bryant’s Website . You can can contribute to BCRF by rounding up your purchase at the register in store or when you check out online. Research has truly helped save the lives of millions every. Let’s keep pushing the envelope to find a cure!
So remember, please take the time to educate yourself and get tested if you have access to. Early prevention is the best intervention.
Please, take care of yourself and each other!