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Beautiful Self: Jill’s Story

Beautiful Self is an amazing project that we recently had the honor of supporting with a “Giving Back Boutique.” Your support and generosity were amazing! I wanted you to be able to “meet” a few of the women who your contributions have helped.

Jill is a mother, a wife and a naturally sparkly person. She just has a twinkle in her eye and a smile that is infectious. You would never dream of the challenges that she has faced.  She has already nursed someone she loves through cancer and is now struggling through it herself. She’s been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, went through treatment, continues Arimedex post treatment, and underwent Diep Flap Surgery, (a procedure where blood vessels as well as the skin and fat connected to them are removed from the abdomen and used to reconstruct the breast after a mastectomy.)  Although it is not an easy surgery in the best of circumstances, hers was especially problematic, taking a few tries and a lot of care and recovery.

When she was asked why she signed up for Beautiful Self she said that she:

“Hoped to  feel beautiful in a body that she felt was no longer hers after she had been through so much. ”

On the day of the shoot, Jill arrived at Jillian and Michele’s studio. At the studio they have cameras, everything for hair and make up, clothing and of course, the benefit of spending a day with women who know what you are going through.

It was an amazing day. Thanks to the  generosity of one of our tribe members, Jan Marsh, Jill was even the first to wear a beautiful new outfit that Jan bought and donated from Worth New York.

She looked beautiful.

Jill  said that she found the session to be liberating! It was like finding her way back out of her own body.

“It is almost impossible to find the words to match the experience, but I feel like the bionic woman, rebuilt, in the best way.”

She  is beyond grateful and excited to have the pictures forever. She will use them to see herself as she truly is, the her we captured during her session, the true her, no matter what.

“I will use these images as a talisman when having a hard day to remind me to always move forward ”

The toll that cancer takes on a woman is more than just the issues of your health and mortality. It affects everything about your life, your body, how you see yourself, who you feel you are.  To feel that you went through a battle and came out as a different person can be hard to adjust to. To see that the person you are now is beautiful and strong and amazing, can open up a whole new world. Beautiful Self  can help a woman feel that she did not just barely make it through, but that she came through in triumph. That her soul is tall and strong and beautiful and amazing. I cannot think of a greater gift than to empower someone by showing them the best version of themselves.

There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who knows her own strength. Jill is the perfect example. She is graduating in May with her degree in Psychology and her greatest wish is to help others.

Thank you so much, my friends. Your generosity is going to help a lot of women see who they really are. Thank you Jillian and Michele for your generosity in this project and thank you to the women like Jill, who allow us to share their stories.