Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Dena's Story

Photo via Dena Stern.

I am going to do something I rarely do here on the blog, I am going to get serious for a second. If you are looking for a lighthearted post on the merits of mixing animal prints, I would close out now. Of course, there will be a fun part to the post, but it will come after the story I am about to tell.

Dena and me on NYE 2012.
A few months ago, I was out for my friend Dena Stern's 29th birthday. I had a great time that night, laughing endlessly, staying out much later than expected. I found out a couple of days later that Dena, at age 29, had been diagnosed with stage 2/3 breast cancer.

I have known several people that have been diagnosed with cancer but they were usually older. In both those cases and in Dena's case, it just didn't seem real. It didn't seem real when she told me, it didn't seem real when she posted this and it didn't seem real when I drove over to her house to see how she was doing. You know when it did seem real? When my 29 year-old friend was explaining how her mother wasn't able to tell any of her friends about Dena's diagnosis because she couldn't find the words. I tried to hold it together long enough to walk to the bathroom and proceed to lose my shit for a good 10 minutes. I finally realized that my good friend, only 29 years old, had a hard battle ahead of her. After several douses of eye drops and a few splashes of cold water on my face, I headed back out. I had to be strong for her. 

Dena and I pre-cancer. Heck, we BOTH had more hair back then!!

Last Monday, Dena began chemo. On Tuesday, she cut off her hair, donated it and then proceeded to shave her head. Actually, her mother shaved her head. My heart broke seeing the photos here. Luckily, Dena has an amazing network of friends that raised over $20k for her that allowed for her to get an amazing wig that pretty much never comes off. 
The before and after featuring her new wig! Photo via Dena Stern.

Dena has had an amazing attitude throughout this entire process. Sure, she has bad days, but I would argue that she has been OVERWHELMINGLY positive and strong. So that made me wonder, if Dena can be such a badass about her cancer, what else can I do? I share this lifestyle blog with Allison that has all of you as our wonderful audience. What could I do with the blog? This is where the story turns around.

I LOVE the color pink. It has always been my favorite color but recently it became a little more important to buy pink things. Specifically pink things that supported Breast Cancer research. Because if I could chose for none of you to ever have to hear a friend sharing how their mom couldn't tell her friends about their diagnosis, I would. Every purchase of a BCR product makes that more of a reality. I'm not asking you to make EVERY purchase a BCR one, but if two products are almost identical and one supports Breast Cancer research and one doesn't, why not choose the pink one? :) 

So, in the face of crisis, let's do what we do best - LET'S GET SHOPPING!

Essie Breast Cancer Awareness Nail Polish

Clinique Breast Cancer Awareness Chubby Stick Set

Lacoste Breast Cancer Awareness Towel

Clarisonic Breast Cancer Awareness Edition - I have this one! :)

The North Face Boarding for Breast Cancer Vest

Cosabella Underwear supporting Bra-ha-ha
a charitable organization for Breast Cancer awareness

Tory Burch Breast Cancer Research Foundation iPhone Case

So what about all of you? Have any other great items I should add to my list?!


  1. If you download the breast cancer awareness badge on "Everyday Health"'s Facebook page this month, 50 cents goes to breast cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. (I don't *cough* have a vested interest *cough* or anything!)

    Best wishes and good thoughts to your friend.

  2. Oh my gosh - my heart breaks for Dena, but she sounds like such a strong, amazing woman and I have no doubt that she'll come through this just fine. I just popped over to her blog and she has a post about self exams - they really are so, so important. So in addition to financially supporting the cause, make sure you're checking yourselves every month, ladies! Thinking of both of you.

    1. Absolutely! If Dena hadn't been watching the tumor, it could have been much worse!

  3. What an amazing, strong and beautiful woman Dena is. What an example of courage and positivity she is. Sending lots of prayers Dena's way! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for sharing Julia. Your friend sounds amazing and strong and I wish her the best! My mom had breast cancer but I forget to check myself because I'm young, not anymore- my boobs and I are spending much more quality time together!


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