Beautiful Self

"Beautiful Self is a non profit organization dedicated to empowering survivors and stage IV fighters of breast cancer to thrive in their new self, in the wake of so much trauma left behind. We believe a woman's positive self worth is crucial to long term recovery. 

It all started with my own treatment for breast cancer in 2014. I'm a beauty authority and spokesperson, but couldn't work through my treatment. So my best friend Michele, a photographer, would come over every week, and we would find ways to escape and express what was happening to me, through beauty and imagery. In the end we had a beautiful body of work that was a journal of healing for me. We wanted to do a give back for other fighter/ survivors, get glamorous, take images, have fun...It was all very light, and meant to to be temporary, thinking maybe 5 or so women would like to come have an experience with us..so we approached a support group. The entire group signed up. This is when it all changed and our little project turned into a purpose .

We witnessed something unexpected, the survivors we saw, some a year or two out of treatment, would often express their frustration with weight gain, emotional changes, physical complications, after medicines, scarring, pain, severe anxiety, infertility, staying flat and the list went on and on. At that same time, I began experiencing many of the things my fellow sisters were. It's like you think its over but initial treatment is only half the story. What most people don't understand is this, once our hair grows back, and we are called survivors we face alot of long term struggles, especially with self image. Don't get me wrong, we are so grateful we survived, but surviving is not thriving. We often wait and hope to be the person we were before breast cancer. But often that person is forever changed. We must learn to accept and see ourselves as beautiful in the new self.

Michele and I knew we had to make a difference! So we carefully crafted what we do into powerful image therapy sessions. We offer an exciting and emotional experience, where a breast cancer survivor could safely discover, explore and see her new self as beautiful. To tell her story and begin the process of loving her new self...with images and a mini documentary that reminds her of the power she is today. We also provide virtual segments, covering important topics with community experts, to continue support and outreach to the community.

Every person that has a session has their own personal epiphany or experience. Things from inspired weight changes, an author putting our image on a book cover, a survivor telling us she feels so much more confident, deciding to go back to work, changing careers, it comes out in so many ways. Every little victory to self love we see as a huge win.

Because of Covid, we have experienced a dramatic negative shift in funding, including the inability to do in person type fundraising, so we worry about the year in front of us.  We already have a year long wait list of survivors asking for our services and unfortunately had to close the line temporarily, as we will not serve unless it is safe for our community. And unfortunately without funding we can not exist. Our greatest wish is to be fully funded, see we can continue to serve those that seeks us out, make a difference in this often over looked community, and not only keep our New Jersey chapter alive, but grow across the country."

If you would like to support Beautiful Self or to learn more visit:

www.beautifulself.org

Follow @beautifulselforg on Instagram and Facebook.