October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a cause near and dear to me.
Some of you may know, I lost my mother to the disease 26 years ago.
Well, one nonprofit is doing its part to help the women fighting the illness by putting a new spin on the hit dance competition, dancing with the stars.
We caught up with some of the ladies to see how it’s helping them get their confidence back.
From Swing to Rumba to Salsa!
“It’s really nice to get my dancing shoes back on and sex it up a little bit,” Kathrina Miccio smiled.
It’s choreography for a cause.
“To know that every step that I’m taking out there, I’m helping another woman take another step towards her recovery, it’s amazing,” Penelope Lopez said.
Steps that are being taking for the event ‘Dancing with the Survivors.’
“So you come in and everyone’s supporting you even when you don’t know your right foot from your left foot,” Michele Lombardi laughed. “It’s a lot of laughs.”
And laughter is exactly what Michele, Penelope and Kathrina needed after their battles with breast cancer.
“We weren’t talking a small mass, it was a fist sized mass in my breast,” Lopez described. “There were some lymph nodes that were affected so I was put at a stage three.”
“It’s devastating,” Lombardi said. “I wound up having to have one breast removed and then a second breast removed, then a lot of reconstruction.”
“I had to be very aggressive, they threw me into chemo right away,” Miccio remembered. “If I didn’t go through what I went through, I wouldn’t be here right now.”
With huge advancements in treatment, more women than ever are recovering from this disease. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said for their bank accounts.
“I‘m still struggling from the financial implications of not being able to work full time for two years,” Lombardi said.
Which is where The Pink Fund comes in, the organization these three ladies are sashaying to support.
“After, breast cancer women often don’t feel like their women anymore and have issues with their sexuality around their partner so I thought, dancing,” Molly MacDonald explained.
Molly MacDonald founded the nonprofit a decade ago while fighting her way out of her own financial fallout caused by breast cancer.
“I really thought we were staring down the potential for homelessness,” she said. “I divorced, then an illness and job loss. I couldn’t get any help, and I really thought, well what if I could give help.”
She started immediately and has since donated 1.7 million dollars for basic living expenses to women battling the disease.
“To know that a women can be helped to pay rent this month, that’s why I dance,” Lopez said.
And it seems their troubles are pushed aside the moment the women hit the dance floor at the Fred Astaire studio in Montville, New Jersey, rehearsing with their professional partners.
“She’s been a great student and a very good sport,” Kathrina’s partner laughed.
“I think she’s been doing great but she does this thing where she thinks a little too much,” Penelope’s partner smiled.
And at this weekend’s fundraiser they’ll spin, shimmy, and shake, hoping to make a difference.
Tickets for Saturday;s event are still available, just click here. Another way to help is through Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. They have created an Orange Beet Juice bottle with the Pink Fund labels. Natalie’s donating 40% of Orange Beet juice sales for the month of October to the Pink Fund. They are also the official creator of the Pink Funds signature cocktail at the Dancing with the Survivors events. Many of the women dancing have their inspirational quote on the Natalie’s juice bottle.
Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi