Race for Life steps into high gear today with its Regent’s Park event in London as the warmer weather brings thousands to the roads in the fight against breast cancer. My good friend Eileen Brown is partaking (you can contribute here). The breast cancer work it funds is as much about supporting those diagnosed as it is fighting the disease itself. It must be succeeding as just in our personal world our neighbour and close friend, Lucille Richards, faced it, fought it and prevailed over it. And her appreciation and enjoyment of life has never been higher.

Another patient embracing the indelible changes this fight inflicts is model Jill Brzezinski-Conley. NBC Today report describes…

  • “A series of stunning photographs of a Kentucky woman with terminal cancer has helped her spread the message that people living with the illness can still feel beautiful and sexy… After undergoing a double mastectomy, Brzezinski-Conley decided not to wear a prosthetic for the photo shoot. She believes the media doesn’t often show what women suffering from breast cancer actually look like and hopes to give people a glimpse while also raising cancer awareness…’I just want to get the message out to women that if you’re diagnosed tomorrow, if you already were diagnosed, just to feel confident and beautiful. Accept your body and embrace it.’… “They talk about it, but they don’t show it,” [photographer] Brzezinski-Conley said. ‘I wanted her to show my breasts and take pictures so people can see what cancer looks like. I just want people to know that when you’re going through it, before or after, that you can still be beautiful and sexy.’”

An yet another beauty, Angelina Jolie, for many a paragon of sex appeal herself, has dominated the entertainment headlines this month with her pre-emptive step of undergoing ‘treatment’ of a double mastectomy based not on diagnosis, but high family risk factors. While the measure taken has stirred a health debate in the health community about its advisability, the awareness she provoked and the courage of her actions are an inspired step to embrace this risk (not hide from it). And despite her embrace of this cosmetic ‘failure’, I’m sure she will continue to exude sex appeal for all her fans.

Angelina Jolie mastectomy