In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we partnered with
Weight Watchers to share the inspiring messages of these survivors.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Weight Watchers has collaborated with the American Cancer Society to spread the word with
Project L.I.F.T. Their mission is to help breast cancer survivors live long and healthy lives by offering support, inspiration, and education for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. We reached out to survivors to hear their perspectives on their experiences, learn what kept them going, and find out how they see things differently now. No matter what you are going through in your life, their messages of strength and courage will inspire you. Read their moving quotes ahead.
Find your purpose
“After receiving my cancer treatment, I could have felt sorry for myself and found myself wallowing in grief over my diagnosis and wondering how it would impact my newborn daughter. Instead, I decided to create a positive out of a negative and convinced myself I wouldn’t let cancer take away my purpose in life, which was to be happy, enjoy time with friends and family, and do something positive for society. I thought chemicals could have contributed to my cancer, so I created
a beauty company to provide all-natural, chemical-free beauty products to people.”
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Get to where you want to be
"About a year after I finished my treatment, I was cancer-free, but I still didn’t feel the way I wanted to feel. I finally said, 'Enough is enough.' I gained weight during chemo, plus I had done so much emotional eating. And chemo certainly didn’t leave me wanting to be active. My mom had been successful on
Weight Watchers, so I decided to join. Since it’s less common to get cancer in your 20s, I often felt isolated. But joining the program made me feel normal again. Women of all ages, many around my age, worry about their weight — I wasn’t alone. In that way, the idea of losing weight didn’t feel quite as hard as battling breast cancer, a fight that was uniquely my own."
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Stay motivated for the future
“It is hard to explain what being diagnosed with breast cancer at 21 years old was like. The simple answer is beyond devastating. Having just lost my mom to ovarian cancer, facing my own battle with the disease seemed like an insurmountable challenge. To this day, I can clearly remember the first time someone told me I was strong. I looked at them with shock. Would they still feel that if they could have seen the amount of tears I had just shed or the crippling fear I had walking into every doctor’s appointment?
"It took me a while to finally realize that what I regarded as signs of weakness were my greatest strengths. My fear of death motivated me to do all I could to survive. I found strength in holding my baby nephew and daydreaming about all of the adventures that we’d go on. I found strength in talking to my sister about places we wanted to visit once I was done with treatment. I found strength in my plans for the future.
"Fast forward several years and today I’m happily married, in good health, and have a fulfilling career. I find strength in life’s small joys and gifts. There is so much to do and see in this big world, and I plan to continue to appreciate each day that I’ve been given. I remind myself that there is a high likelihood that someone has it worse than me. I've never been one to wallow in self-pity for long and now strive to put as much joy and love into the universe.”
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Ask for the help you need
“Don't be afraid to ask for help. I feel like in our society and culture, we don't ask for help when we really need it because it makes us feel needy, weak, or vulnerable . . . but guess what? When we have cancer, we are needy, weak, and vulnerable! This is the time to learn how to communicate to loved ones and friends about how you're feeling.
"Even if you have no clue, try to be thoughtful and honor your body by expressing what you think you need, whether that be emotional support, asking someone to cook you dinner, or just having a friend come over to hold your hand while watching TV. That was the hardest thing for me to do. It will also give your community and support system some insight into how to handle your disease. My people had no idea what to do and felt so helpless because I was being stubborn. So knock down any walls you might put up because your people want to help you!”
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Seek support from others
“My weekly women's breast cancer support group was a saving grace for me. These 10 ladies were instrumental in providing me with answers to my many questions, my challenging emotional needs while struggling through stage 2 invasive breast cancer, chemo, hair loss, radiation, and aftercare. Knowing I could talk to any of these ladies was essential to my full recovery.”
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A source of physical strength
“There were days that I felt like crawling into the sessions, days where [I was] lying on a couch doing literally nothing and I wasn't even bored, but a short, modified session or simply stretching with my trainer always gave me a boost, so much so that after not being able to even get up, I could actually drive, and I would continue to feel exponentially better until my next pill.
"An exercise program was literally my magic pill. The support and camaraderie that existed was truly a lifeline for me. I felt stronger in mind and body. And I am happy to report that in my 11 years as a survivor I've carried it forward and still prioritize exercise in my weekly activities. I even volunteer as a board member and help with several other ongoing Bay Area community events!”
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More from Weight Watchers Project L.I.F.T.
Live inspired. Fight together. As a community, we can empower breast cancer survivors to live their healthiest lives. Find out how to get involved
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