October is the time we all think of fall and Halloween, which I have been taking full advantage of with the decor around my home. Along with the craft posts here. But, October is also special for a different reason, it is Breast cancer awareness month, and today I am decorating a tree in support of the fight. In hopes to raise awareness, research, early detection, and funds for survivors.
**This is a sponsored post, I was provided a tree for the purpose of this campaign. All opinions are my own**
Unfortunately, this cause is close to my heart. I know too many strong, beautiful, and amazing women who have been fighting this disease. Some are now happily cancer free, others are still in the thick of the battle. When Tree Classics came to me asking to decorate a tree to raise awareness for this cause I was all for it! The point of campaigns like this is simple, people like pretty decor online. If I can have a few more people have breast cancer in the forefront of their thoughts because they happen to see this pink tree, that is a chance for donation of time or money. That is a reminder to that woman to schedule her mammogram, to support a person fighting this great battle.
Only good can come from partnering with a brand for this cause. Before I get into the simple projects I did for this Breast cancer awareness tree I want to provide some great information on this disease as well as a place you can go to help. The National breast cancer foundation is a helpful resource to educate yourself on the symptoms, treatment and is a must read for any woman. They also have tons of information on how to get involved, support those fighting and also specific places to donate money to.
This next one was recommended to me from a breast cancer survivor friend of mine. She spoke highly of Young Survival Coalition as an amazing place for people to share their story, find support, educate themselves and others, conquer, cry, find others who are fighting the same fight, and find events in most cities to raise money, support and build the community. There are so many great places to look to, but the last one I will highlight is Susan G. Komen, which is a strong support system that is racing for the cure. They have a ton of resources and events in any major city. I hope you find these resources helpful, let me know if there are others I should highlight as well.
Back to the tree decorating, when this idea was brought to me I knew right away what I wanted to do, breast cancer (cancer in general actually) it is always personal. The person diagnosed, their spouses, partners, children, parents, friends and family feel this too. Breast cancer is about so much more than the disease itself, it is about the heroes fighting to live, to be healthy, to conquer this. That is what I wanted to prioritize, these stories, these emotions, these individuals, their stories.
The tree came in three pieces that were so easy to put together. With some fluffing of the branches I had a beautiful and plush Christmas tree in minutes! When I got this beautiful tree from Tree classics, it was blank. Which felt daunting considering the topic and goal for this specific campaign. How do I put emotions into a tree? How to I tell a story that is so personal, heartbreaking, difficult, horrible, sometimes triumphant, always hopeful, debilitating…. I could go on. The women I know personally who are going through this astound me with their grace, their strength, their perseverance. So many emotions and all of that had to fit in this little tree.
I wanted to include these stories, all of them. But, this is a public blog and I want to respect people’s anonymity, so a general story needed to be conveyed. I found that in the emotions itself, with words. With this being all about the visuals I had to bring the pretty, so I did some digging for flower meanings. Deciding to incorporate some few lovely blooms into the foundation of this tree.
Hydrangeas mean perseverance, which felt very fitting for this story. Regardless of the battle ahead, seeming impossible tasks; these women face the diagnosis head on and persevere into the treatment. A plan of attack is made and these people keep going, keep living. No matter how exhausted, achy, sore, sick they are. They fight to live, and keep living during this whole process. Continuing to love, laugh, take care of children, go to work, pay bills. They win no matter what the outcome is. Perseverance is what these women have.
The next flower that seemed to fit perfectly was a pink tulip, which means caring. So much care is involved in this disease, the doctors, nurses, patient care specialists, spouses, parents, friends. So much care is given to this person fighting, being so strong. I cannot imagine how going through this disease would be without someone caring, simply caring is a big help.
The peony means healing, which is very self explanatory. These woman are healing their bodies, their minds, their spirit. They are relying on the healing hands of doctors, their loved ones. All in the hopes of healing completely and getting to ring that bell, celebrate being in remission, taking that much deserved deep breathe of knowing they fought and won. Unfortunately, their is also loss with this disease, which means the loved ones left behind have so much healing to do. To carry on in remembrance of that special person who will always be with them.
I could have gone on and on with selecting flowers to feature in this. All of the ones with any kind of special meaning I wanted to incorporate into this tree. But, it can only handle so many beautiful blooms, so I had to select the ones that would work best.
To bring this pinktober theme into full fruition I added these fun paper decorations. This disease is dark, cruel, and harsh, I was concerned going in such a bright pink route with this would feel wrong. But then I remembered my theme for this, which is every single person’s story. None of those story are dark, no matter the outcome they deserve to be celebrated, happy, and respected.
It was coming together so beautifully! The tree itself was nice and full to begin with so these flowers fit right in.
I was wanting to use words in other ways, really respect what these women go through. I found a forum that had people provide a word that was breast cancer to them. I felt this was a respectful way to tell their stories without ever disrespecting them. There were so many pure and raw emotions. Some words surprised me, some broke my heart with their harsh reality. But all of them were important, all of them meant something to this person, this person that is living, fighting and struggling with this disease. I had to put these words into the tree.
I purchased a bunch of plastic ornaments from a dollar store.
I struggled with how to paint these without having to hold them in the air while they dried. My solution was to take off the tops and spray paint the inside of them. Pink of course!
They came out great!
I found these Breast cancer ribbon shoe strings in a store. All of the silver items are actually the tops of the plastic ornaments.
I cut the shoe strings down and tied a knot around the top of the ornament tops.
Then I wrote some of the words from these women; survivors, fighters and fearless people who deserve so much more than just this little tree. But, here is my tiny part in hopefully making a difference for them.
I took a few of these powerful words and wrote them on the ornaments.
The results are, I hope a way to raise awareness, give respect, and inspire others to educate, help, support, and be aware of what you should do as a woman to be healthy.
The softness of this tree with the beautiful colors meet the theme of Breast cancer awareness month, decorating a tree perfectly. In all of the information I found online and conversations I had with people close to me they all spoke of the beauty in this disease. Which confused me, this is a terrible disease. But they mentioned the community, the support, the celebration of life that is thrown at you when diagnosed. The dark days are vast, but the bright days are bigger. They laugh more, love harder, do not sweat the small stuff. I am in awe of every one of them, you are all beautiful!
I was moved so much by what others had to say about this disease. I am moved by their challenge, battle, success, loss, and heart. They all have so much heart. The community of support surrounding them is something to be valued and celebrated as well.
This is close to my heart as a person who knows too many woman fighting this disease, but also because I am a woman and I know I need to educate myself better on detection, treatment, prevention and self monitoring. I hope you all take this to heart as well and at the very least educate yourselves. Use the links I provided at the top and the bottom of this post and research this, research what you could be doing for yourself. Research what you can do to help.
The tree is full, just as these lives, these women are full. They are full of love, tenacity, fight, and life left to live.
This month is a great time to bring awareness for this disease, to save lives, support the ones struggling now, and to find a cure!
My hope for this post is to share some pretty, get the word out, support a wonderful cause, and educate. But most importantly, bring to light the people. Their stories that are the heart and soul of this cause, this movement, this disease. They are the true superheroes, the ones who deserve celebrating!
The pretty flowers and the bright pink are what can possibly get people to take a closer look, do some research and save a life, support a friend, bring awareness. It is all about being aware.
I want to say a special thank you for Tree classics for this amazing opportunity to stretch my decorating skills, dig deeper, decorate from the heart and spread awareness. The amazing individuals fighting daily either personally or supporting a loved one, working in the medical field, or foundations like young survival coalition, National breast cancer foundation, Susan G. Komen , and the countless other charities …. you all are amazing! This Breast cancer awareness month, decorating a tree is a tiny piece to this massive puzzle. This puzzle that effects lives, hearts, and futures. To the people fighting the disease, I salute you. You are truly worthy of a superhero cape and all of the happiness in the world. My thoughts are with you, my heart hurts for you, and I hope I did this cause justice.
Do you have a favorite breast cancer charity or foundation to share? A story? Words of encouragement? Speak up!!!