This season’s OBEY Awareness project involves The Keep A Breast Foundation founded by Shaney Jo Darden and Mona Mukherjea. Keep A Breast utilizes an array of art forms to educate young people about breast cancer and to inspire them to adopt healthy lifestyles with long-term benefits.
The foundation has been especially important to OBEY Clothing over the years and recently worked personally with one of our staff, Hayley McIntire, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this past November. We spoke with Hayley about her experience and found that she was able to stay positive with help from Keep A Breast and now wants to inspire young women dealing with breast cancer to do the same.
What is your current status? [Hayley] I have currently completed 6 months of intense chemotherapy and am just finishing up with 6 weeks of daily radiation. I am alive and feeling better than ever! Just happy everything’s all over so I can get back to my normal life! All in all from diagnosis to completion, the process took 8 months.
How did you get involved Keep A Breast? The day I got diagnosed, we received artwork here at OBEY for our next awareness campaign which was partnering with the Keep A Breast foundation, an organization helping young girls deal with breast cancer. The timing could not have been more perfect. Its like it was some crazy sign from above, and I contacted Shaney Jo right away to see if they had any recourses to help me, since I was so taken by surprise and didn’t know where to turn. The next day she invited me to her home to make a breast cast, so I’d have something with my natural breasts to hold onto before my surgery. They provided me with support, resources and a bunch of awesome merch for me to sport! They are wonderful people running a wonderful organization.
What does this experience mean to you? This experience, needless to say, has totally changed my life. Its sounds totally cliché but it has opened my eyes to how awesome life can really be. You can never take one day, one hour, one minute for granted – it could all be gone tomorrow. I’ve learned to surround myself and focus my attention on the people that love me and tell everyone exactly how much they mean to me. I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am and let my personality really shine, cuz without hair, eyelashes or eyebrows, I felt like its all I had at one time. I feel like myself more than ever before and I now know that if I can handle this, I can handle ANYTHING! You’re only as strong as you tell yourself you are. With no option but to fight, I found a strength I never knew I had. I could not have done it without the support and resources from the Keep A Breast Foundation, and am forever grateful for what they have done for me. My mission from here on out is to connect with other young girls going thru the same thing and teach them not only how to look hot through the entire chemo process (which trust me is very tricky yet important to young girls like us), but also to ease the fear in them I once had; because trust me, if I can do this, anyone can!
What advice do you have for other women with breast cancer? The advice I have for women going thru the same thing is that it’s NOT the end of the world, at all! These days breast cancer, though it can be very serious, in most cases can be cured 100% through various treatments. It’s just like having the flu for like, 6 months, well kind of – then its over. I had to go thru double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation and trust me if I can do it anyone can. In fact, I am pretty sure I looked better in my wigs and I started really taking care of myself during the treatments better than I did before. It is possible for young girls to get through this looking hot and fabulous, no problem! I also have discovered that its 90% mental. Working through my treatments and continuing to go out with my friends and just live a normal life was exactly what I did, and that’s exactly how I felt, normal. I did not spend countless hours worrying, looking stuff up on the Internet or feeling sorry for myself. There was no room for that. Stay strong and know you’re not alone!
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