At ManiMe, we use nail color and design to express our support for causes we care about. We're donating 10% of the online sales of select pink manicures to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which focuses on funding research and services for breast cancer patients and survivors through the end of October.
Fighting Pretty is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping breast cancer patients, and survivors feel strong and beautiful. Liv & Let is a resource and community hub for breast cancer patients, survivors, and caretakers.
Early this month, we spoke to Corinne Christian, Director of Outreach & Community Engagement at Fighting Pretty, and Lauren Lopriore, founder of Liv & Let. They shared their stories to help us better understand the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness.
Responses are edited for clarity and brevity.
Corinne Christian: I got connected with Kara, the founder of Fighting Pretty, nearly four years ago. She needed support in running Fighting Pretty, and I joined the team in 2017. Since then, we've exploded. Kara, our founder, has been featured in Gap and Ulta ads, and we were even on the Today show. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic sort of made everything stop, but we've picked up again and have been busier than ever.
We realized that women are still in treatment and being diagnosed with various forms of cancer every day. Now, they can’t even bring their support systems to doctor's appointments or treatment due to protocols.
In response to the COVID-19 protocols, we started the Strength and Beauty program in April 2019. The program has exploded and it is now our primary program. We send Strength and Beauty kits to hospitals and healthcare systems nationwide for active treatment patients. These little gifts tell the patients: you are strong, you are beautiful and you are not alone. For caregivers who are exhausted, it is also nice to help the patient through a challenging time.
Another program we kicked off in the past few years is hosting the Beauty & Bubbles event, which is an event dedicated to survivors. We have 15 locations and about 35 women signed up. This is our major survivor event of the year.
Lauren Lopriore: I was diagnosed in 2015 with stage 3 cancer. I found lumps under my right breast and my armpit. I went to a doctor and they told me that I was too young to have breast cancer. I eventually got an ultrasound scheduled, but it wasn't deemed urgent. I didn't get the ultrasound done until months later. Finally, on Feb 19, 2015, I went in for a full ultrasound, completed 3 biopsies, and learned of my diagnosis. I then went through IVF for eggs-freezing and then underwent chemotherapy, breast surgery, double mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction surgery.
I just hit 5 years of remission, and I am working toward 10. I am also BRCA positive. I learned through my diagnosis process that my grandmother had breast cancer and my aunt also is a breast cancer survivor, which was new information. I decided to start Liv & Let because I went through treatment without a lot of support and resources. I also found that medical providers 5 or so years ago lacked the knowledge to present information around breast cancer to patients.
Liv & Let started as a blog but then developed into a resource and information hub for patients, survivors, caregivers, and support systems. I thought it was important to share my story because there wasn't an openness in my family. It was through my work with Liv & Let that I came across Fighting Pretty and got involved. I am now their partner for the Chicago Beauty & Bubbles event. I feel like Chicago, and the midwest is forgotten about and wanted to bring an event for survivors here. For this event, I thought of ManiMe right away. I used your products myself. I actually would love to find a way to put them in Liv & Let's curated crate service, too.
Lauren Lopriore: First and foremost, when you go through chemotherapy, you lose your hair, you possibly lose body parts. Your skin changes, your nails change. My nails are pretty much destroyed. All throughout my chemotherapy, I was worried my nails would literally fall off. They were yellow and nasty. I actually cried after my first salon appointment back because my nails are so brittle, and they hurt so bad. With this in mind, I know that any element of self-care that can make you feel like you are so important. I would have given anything for ManiMe during my journey and feel like me.
Corinne Christian: For many patients, cancer treatment can be a very defeminizing experience. What makes them feel like a woman is being taken away. Seeing a pretty nail color can make their day a little brighter or give them a much-needed boost.
Also, since you can apply ManiMe at home, this is a safer option as an immunocompromised person living in the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a fear of going out, even to get a service like a mani at a salon.
And as a caregiver, it is a small gift that you provide to brighten the active patient’s or survivor’s day. We know that everyone copes differently, and it can be hard to know what to do. Sending a small gift allows the patient or survivor to open it and process it on their own time. They can see your support and love on their own time.
Lauren Lopriore: For a survivor or patient, build your support team. Ask for help. Ask for the little thing that will make you feel better. Take care of yourself and take the time to try to process. Your attitude really drives you. We all have good or bad days.
Corinne Christian: Every woman finds that thing that makes them feel beautiful. Lean into it. Find what makes you feel better and embrace it.
What color matters to you right now?
Lauren Lopriore: Recently, I have been really into greens. For me, green represents nature and growth. Cancer changed my way of thinking and my love for being outside. It really helped me live in the moment and see things in a new way. I also think the right shades of pink and green make me feel calm or in the woods. I am a lover of color. My closet is filled with color.
Corinne Christian: Fighting Pretty's color is "knockout pink" or hot pink. Not only because it is connected to Kara's story, but it is such a fierce, feminine, and joyful color. We also love to use teal for ovarian cancer, purple for all cancer survivors, and personally, I am really into a rich navy blue because it is not as intense as black, but still striking.