Meet Megan: One of our 2019 Survivor Models
Subject line: Meet Megan, one of our 2019 Care Packs & Cocktails Models
Cancer is a disease that causes physical, mental and emotional changes. Sometimes these changes are so deep that the person who is fighting no longer recognizes themselves in the mirror. Tenaciously Teal’s Care Packs and Cocktails charity event involves a fashion show where the models are all cancer survivors. Our commitment is to make our models feel beautiful and reconnect them with their true selves. Today, we are focusing on Megan, one of the models from our most recent event, and how her involvement changed her life forever.
Megan is a 4th grade teacher who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in January 2018. One of the most difficult things was figuring out how she would tell her students. When talking to them, she decided to focus on the positive, yet she still found that they were sad and scared.
It made me sad that already by 4th grade so many of them had known someone affected by cancer and that was why they were afraid for me. I knew then that I wanted to make cancer less scary for them and my own son who was in kindergarten at that time.
Megan found out about Tenaciously Teal from a group of breast cancer survivors in Norman who supported her during treatment. She was immediately interested in what we were doing and wanted to be a part of it. Megan and her 4th graders quickly became some of our biggest supporters through volunteering to assemble care packs, which has become a yearly event for her classes.
When we asked her to model for Care Packs and Cocktails she immediately said yes, but was still a bit apprehensive.
For me there was an undercurrent of nervousness and a little fear at the idea of putting myself out there like that. I had gone through 6 months of infusion chemotherapy, had a bilateral mastectomy, and had just finished 6 months of pill-based chemotherapy leading up to the show. Twelve months of chemo had taken a toll on me. My skin had a grey tone to it, my hair was growing back, but very slowly due to the chemo. My body was weak, my nails were discolored and brittle, and I didn’t feel feminine at all after the mastectomy. I had to wait to recover from the effects of chemo before I could have breast reconstruction, which hadn’t occurred yet at the time of the fashion show. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. In fact, I avoided mirrors because of it.
Although the thought of modelling brought up some fear for Megan, it also helped her realize the mixed feelings she had about having cancer.
While that was happening to me physically, cancer made all the things that really matter in life crystal clear for me. I was a big-time introvert before cancer but found my voice during treatment. I began to speak what was on my mind instead of holding back, laughed harder, cried harder, etc. I found the beauty in the small and everyday things that I overlooked before. I was finally happy with the person I was after years of doubting myself, so it just broke my heart to see my reflection in the mirror. Why couldn’t the outside match how I felt on the inside?
Megan faced her fears and went to a shop to buy a dress for the event. It was a pivotal moment.
I had to confront that mirror I had been avoiding for so long, and you know what? I was finally happy with the woman I saw looking back at me! That moment was the first time I had felt pretty in such a long time.
Walking the runway was a transformative experience for Megan, especially meeting other survivors.
There is an acceptance and connection between survivors – our experiences bond us to each other. We cheered for each other as we walked the runway. We celebrated being alive. We celebrated being women. We celebrated being vibrant, gorgeous, and strong. It was one of the most amazing moments in my life. These women inspired me to keep going after my dreams and to live life to the fullest. After that night, I have continued to wear bright colors and make-up. No more hiding. I will be forever grateful to Tenaciously Teal for showing me the path to regain my self-esteem and confidence.
Find out more about Care Packs and Cocktails and join us in empowering cancer fighters across the U.S. by visiting our website.