Breast Cancer Alliance
Thank you to everyone who came out in support of Breast Cancer Alliance on the 26th! We had our biggest #VBGIVESBACK Day yet! All day long, 10% of sales across our stores benefitted the nonprofit, which is dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for those impacted by breast cancer. And an extra thank you to our incredible hosts, including the survivors who shared their stories—you are all our superheroes. #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth
P.S. Missed us? You can still shop for the cause. From now till the end of the year, every veronicabeard.com order will donate proceeds to this fight against breast cancer. For those in Miami and Los Angeles, we've added a few bonus #VBGIVESBACK Days for you:
Veronica Beard | 4048 NE 1st Avenue
Bonus: Noon - 2 PM on October 28 with Dr. Lucy De La Cruz and Nadia Nocera Zachariah
LOS ANGELES — PALISADES VILLAGE
Veronica Beard | 1062 N. Swarthmore Ave.
Bonus: Noon - 2 PM on October 30 with Parrish Chilcoat
We also got a chance to chat with our Georgetown host, journalist Ali Rogin, about her book, Beat Breast Cancer Like a Boss. Read more below...
VB Book Club: Beat Breast Cancer Like a Boss by Ali Rogin
I will say, there are a lot to choose from, but one of my favorite moments is courtesy of the late, great journalist and author Cokie Roberts. When she received her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2002, the first thing she did was head to the beach, for a long-planned vacation with her family. Her attitude was, why would I delay joy like that, just because I’ve received bad news? I think it’s an important lesson for all of us, regardless of the sort of challenge we’re facing. It certainly doesn’t have to be about cancer or any other illness. The point is, it’s so essential to live in the moment, because we’re not promised the next one.
In Cokie's Words: “I got the diagnosis and then I went to the beach. And then when I came back I started dealing with it. It’s not like it was going to grow to my liver while I was at the beach! I was just gone a couple weeks… I knew it was going to be a big fat pain and that it was not going to be something I was going to enjoy, but I was not in this state of horror.”
I was most surprised by how legendary UCLA gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field approached her chemotherapy, to treat her Stage I, HER-2 positive breast cancer in 2015. Most people I talked to had loved ones who would come spend time with them during their infusions, to keep them company and to keep them distracted. Not Miss Val. She treated those hours in the chair as precious alone time, and used them to get a lot of work done, including choreographing a performance of The Nutcracker! I just loved that, because it was so unique to her, and also really drives home the idea that no two people’s experience with cancer, or treatment for cancer, is going to be the same, and it’s important that the folks who care for and about them understand that—and don’t get offended if the person going through it doesn’t want to be helped in the way you want to help them.
In Valorie’s Words: “I had so many of my friends, my husband, everybody saying, ‘Please, let me come sit with you.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t want you to sit with me. It’s my time! I don’t want you there talking to me… Had I allowed my friends and my husband to come sit with me in chemotherapy, it would have been simply because they wanted to. It would have fulfilled a need in them. And it wasn’t about them. This was about me.”
I am most grateful to all the women of color, particularly the Black women, whom I interviewed for the book and spoke to me about the medical racism they faced in the course of their cancer journey. No two experiences were alike, and some received more respectful care than others, but a constant refrain was how (predominantly white) doctors would treat Black female breast cancer patients as less than. Like the time film producer Zola Mashariki, diagnosed in 2015, met with a plastic surgeon who, upon meeting her, first showed her a bunch of images of “what I do to Black gals,” and then volunteered to her, ‘I’m not the insurance guy,’ indicating that he assumed she couldn’t afford his services on her own. These women’s candor in telling me these stories sheds light on the horrific inequalities that remain very much a reality in doctors’ offices, which often go unseen because they happen behind closed doors. And all of that presumes the woman in question has access to specialty care, which so often is not the case for people of color, especially Black women, in the United States.
In Zola's Words: “He showed me pictures of people he’d worked with and was like, ‘Yeah, this Black gal, I gotta show you what I do to Black gals…’ And then when we talked about money, he said, ‘I need you to know: I don’t know if you’re an insurance person, but I’m not the insurance guy.’ He was implying that if you mention insurance to him, you are not his clientele. And insinuating that I am an ‘insurance person.’ I think so much of it was loaded and gross and awful and terrible.” (Zola did not end up going with this guy, and found a great plastic surgeon to perform her reconstructive surgery).
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