Thursday, December 6, 2012

Social Justice Events And Reflection - The Gloria Gemma Fashion Show

     This Saturday, September 15, 2012, would be a day that I never thought I would spend doing what I did. The Gloria Gemma Foundation and additional sponsors set up this fashion show. The fashion show took place in the Warwick Mall in RI.  It is 11:15 already and I am running late already, so typical of me. I think I am going to be late to my own wedding, Haha. Got into the mall running to the center where the event is taking place.  It is hair and makeup time, all this glitz and glamor.  I am not late.  Getting my hair and makeup done the way I like it to be done.  Then it is time to decide what outfit to wear from Victoria Secret from the Pink line, thank you Victoria Secret for letting us model your pink line.  Hair, makeup, and dress up a little girls fashion dream.  As all of us from the 2013 Young Women's Calendar for Gloria Gemma (coming out on October 6,2012 be sure to support us) got together for one mutual cause.  To get the message, "That breast cancer is not just your grandmother's disease" and make women aware.  As all of us gather together we shared and listened to each others stories.  Stories of treatment, care, and things that these women have experienced with life and the obstacles that present themselves in our lives.  This was the start to a sisterhood that, that I could not be more proud of. We also modeled clothes from one of Macy's line called INC and then furs from Macy's.  I don't believe in killing animals for fashion accessories but this fur coat was warm and I was totally in love with it.  The fur coat was a whooping $3500.00, that is a lot of money. Anyways during the fashion I met another survivor that was not part of our group, she is actually Mrs. Connecticut and such a lovely person with a great heart.  Mrs. Connecticut went through breast like we did, is doing beauty competitions and charity events she is an example of heroism. 

As of September 16, 2012,  I completed a year of being diagnosed with breast cancer.  I don't believe that it has been already a year. My judgement is cloudy and my growth hindered.  I was trying to stay in good faith around others but how do you do such a thing when everyone has abandon me in my time of need?  I have to admit it has been a struggle to walk around like everything is perfect, when there are days that I feel completely horrible and struggle to make myself be better.  Can these ladies even relate to what I feel or even know what I am even referring to, only time will tell. As time went on and so did school only a several days until October, the Breast Cancer Month.

    The month is finally here now down for the really business of breast cancer celebration, and the celebration that I am almost done or at least I thought.  My doctor goes to tell me that I will be doing weekly treatments until May ( not so excited), it is what it maybe be.  We started the month by going to the IMAX theater on October 1, 2012 see ourselves on screen and speaking about our illness and what our experience was, there was not one dry eye left in the theater that night.  More mingling with the ladies, their families, and whoever accompany them to show support.  I have to admit hearing everyone's story on when they got diagnosed and what was going on in their life at the  time.  Everyone was at different points in life but one thing for sure no one said that this came at a convenient time in life or that they were not doing anything.  Busy lives, busy schedules, and cancer.  As time went on I had to get ready for the up coming events which consisted of a full weekend of fun filled activist and us the calendar girls as honorees.
      The first day of the activities on Friday, October 5, 2012 was the calendar signing for the calendar girls of 2013 calendar for the Gloria Gemma Foundation.  It started with Barbara Morse Silva from the news speaking about the history of the calendar, and what we were all celebrating in that room.  Then had different speakers like Olivia Culpo, and Teresa Giudice.  Teresa Giudice thank us for our bravery in fighting this illness and setting the example for young women to start screening themselves now, she also celebrity bartender at the hotel bar, and gave us a trinket that was a token of her appreciation. The night progressed with the calendar women of 2012 resigning their reign and handing it over to us.  They showcased our photos that we took back in June and July and we were not able to see what any of the pictures looked like until that night.  So new pictures were showcased month by month, each pair of cancer survivors going up to represent their months all being announced by Barbara and Olivia.  Round of applause and tears flowed from family, friends, and supporters, what an over welling response.  After we finished that we sat with our sash, pens, a rose in a long table ready to sign the calendar for all those that came to support the event. We signed so many calendars that our hands almost fell off.
     The second day was long and one that I will never forget on Saturday, October 6, 2012, I actually started the at 12 pm signing calendars in Waterplace park.  I sat under a tent signing away for an hour and meeting new people that admired my courage, but seeing people that I already knew but they didn't know what I went through.  The day progressed with me going to check out all the other tents and see all the different venues that were there.  I had lunch with the photographers, and dinner with Mrs. Connecticut.  I venture to the pink bus that had one of the ladies that was going through her cancer treatments.  She had been going through cancer for awhile she was diagnosed with triple negative cancer, and had been through so many treatments but had no success with any of them put she was optimist that there would be one.  She thanked me for signing her calendar and was greatly appreciative for the bravery that we went through as survivors, but we had to be the ones to thank her.  She was a wonderful lady, optimistic, a great view on survivorship and what it stands for, Laurie C. I thank you and wish that we would have had more time to get to know each other.  Even though Laurie lost her battle to breast cancer, she has won a special place in my heart, and will never be forgotten.  As the day continued there was hugs and support from everyone that I would encounter.  As the night hit we had a torch ceremony, that started off late because of passing thunderstorms.  The night cleared up and the festivities continued, the torch ceremony was an honor, no wait an absolute privilege to go through such an experience.  An experience on were I realized that I really made it, and I survived. I shared  a platform in Waterplace with the survivors and a lady that had just started treatment.  She hated life to the fullest, and every component of it.  I told her to look around her that we have all experienced it and survived, she told be that I don't understand because I am too young to get it.  Oh, boy am I really that young to get it, no I get it because I actual got the illness and am here to talk about it.  We got a rose that night and I told her to take the rose and throw it over to the river, but before she does it to release all the angry, frustration, and animosity with the rose.
    The third day on Sunday, October 7, 2012 I seemed to catch a cold because of the damp, wet conditions and felt a little under the weather.  I wore layers of clothes, and headed out early in the morning for the Gloria Gemma 5k.  I jog, and walked the 5k with my best friend and her mother that came to support me in 46:10, I am so proud. So many people there getting ready to support family, friends, or whoever just to know that people have been affected by this some way or another.
    I attended Tickle Pink by Women & Infants that was put together by Jen my friend and one of my supporters.  I had a blast the sit down dinner, comedy show, and give aways were all great and the experience to share and know to be proud to be a survivor, oh and more people to find out that I was ill.  Thank you Jen, you did a wonderful job, and I am glad that you gave me tickets to attend.  American Cancer society walk that I opted not to jog but walked with my family.  There was a cool car that had breast cancer symbols all over it. I was also on the Jim Vincent show and in many publications promoting the events, my story and awareness.  I not only have done that I was in the school paper "The Anchor", and the school radio station promoting breast health awareness to all women young and old.
     I also had a charity event at The Apartment in Providence.  A special thank you to Reggie, Adrian, Fanta, and Chip Tillman.  For the support, collaboration, effort, and time to coordinate the whole things.  A special thanks to the artist that shared their stories, and to all that came to support me.  Through all these experiences it has taught me to be grateful for everything, to be positive, and welcome these people into my life as dear friends.  I have been through struggles, death knocking on my door and I got up and fought for my life.
    My motto is "when a crisis or challenge or change presents itself in your life, you have a choice either you lay down and you let the challenge consume you or you get up and fight like you life depended on it".  Positivity, health, success, and love is what needs to be surround my new life and my new start.  Thank you to all my supporters also much love, Gloria Gemma for letting me be part of their calendar, the calendar girls for the advice, support, friends, family, and most of all my dog you will always live in heart. Thank you again to the calendar girls you ladies know how to cheer me up, what to say when I am nervous, and how to support me when I am down. You are not only my friends but you are my sisters.


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