"Knocking Out Breast Cancer" Event: Fighting with Fashion

Northwestern Medicine
Cancer Care/Oncology October 23, 2012
Barbara Bates, a famous fashion designer and founder of the Barbara Bates Foundation shares with us her battle with breast cancer.

On June 1, 2009, I heard the words, "You have breast cancer.”  I was shocked and  devastated.  I went into this appointment thinking the lump in my left breast was nothing. By 4pm that same day, I had an ultrasound, removal of several lymph nodes under my arm and a breast biopsy. I walked out of the doctor’s office and left in a fog wondering where my life would go from there. As I look back at my journey, I find myself thanking God for allowing me to be diagnosed with breast cancer and to be a survivor.

Barbara Bates, a famous fashion designerAfter receiving my diagnoses, I opted for a second opinion. My pastor referred me to oncologist Steve Rosen, MD. There were so many options put before me and so many decisions, but Dr. Rosen and his staff were right there to hold my hand- literally hold my hand. The entire hospital experience was “new” for me. I’d never had a toothache and now I was finding myself at Northwestern Prentice Women’s Hospital every week. I had a lumpectomy, then a port placed in my chest for my 14 chemo treatments. I received 35 treatments of radiation and one year of Herceptin. Through this process, I lost all of my hair and 20 pounds. The journey was long and the fight was hard, but I was victorious.

After treatment, I saw a bright light at the end of that cancer tunnel. I gained my weight back, got new cells in my body, new hair, healthy skin and a new attitude toward life.

I learned so much through this process. I consider myself to be an intelligent woman, but had all of the wrong information pertaining to breast cancer. So many women go through life with the wrong information, thinking they are not at risk because they don’t have a family history of cancer or they don’t have large breasts. I even believed white women were at a greater risk. I was wrong. Cancer picks on whoever it wants to. Since my battle with breast cancer, I have become educated on the disparities that exist in inner city communities. I'm familiar with the statistics and I'm shocked that so many women do not get breast exams in time to save their lives.

Every year I have a fashion show fundraiser through the Barbara Bates Foundation. This year, the fashion show will add a new component. On October 28, 2012, we will host a “Knocking Out Breast Cancer” fashion show at Prentice Women’s Hospital. All 50 models are breast cancer survivors.  I wanted to celebrate their courage and educate our audience on the importance of mammograms and early detection. This event also marks the launch of a partnership between the Barbara Bates Foundation and the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation benefiting the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Sinai Health System. The Barbara Bates Foundation will raise money for a grant to educate and address the disparities of breast cancer screening and treatment faced by women in African-American and Latino communities.

Learn more and purchase tickets for “Knocking Out Breast Cancer”.
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