Melissa Kahn White

At 39 years old, Melissa Kahn White went in for her annual OBGYN appointment. Given her proximity to 40, her doctor encouraged her to get her first mammogram: “I wasn’t nervous or scared. It was just something on my to-do list.” After finding something suspicious, doctors ordered more testing and Melissa all of a sudden “fell into a black hole” of fear and doubt

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Meet the Models: Kate Lepore

Kate Lepore was shocked to learn of her breast cancer diagnosis. She had no family history, but in years past she had dense tissue that had always later been cleared as normal by doctors. It’s why, when her mammogram came back abnormal six months ago, she assumed she would be cleared once again. While the news was profoundly life changing, the one positive was that Kate’s dedication to adhere to regular mammograms allowed her breast cancer to be caught early, which increases her chances of a great outcome. It was a small comfort during an otherwise arduous time.

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Meet the Models: Diane and Anastasia Hansen

Last year Diane and Anastasia lit up the runway. As a mother/daughter duo, the two represented what began at the core of Runway for Recovery- mothers and daughters. They will hit the runway again this year to honor all their family has gone through during Diane’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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Meet the Models: Jenn Puhle

Jen Puhle is in the thick of her cancer battle. Nearly a year ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and a mere few weeks later received a double mastectomy. While her mother had breast cancer in her 70s, Jen had no family history and was BRCA negative. Her MRI was just precautionary, as she had dense breast tissue. When the doctor came back with the results, all Jen remembers is her saying, “you’re not going to die from this.”

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Meet the Models: Emily Friedrichs

When Emily Friedrichs was 17, she lost her mother to breast cancer. At just 43, her mother left behind Emily and her two brothers, ages 14 and 10 at the time. Her battle defined most of the children’s lives, especially her youngest brother: “my mom was sick for three years before her death, so my youngest brother was only 6 and for him, most of his memories of her involve breast cancer.” It’s why, as Emily got older, she was diligent about self-exams and and breast MRI’s. The early screening would pay off because although she herself was unfortunately diagnosed, her early stage diagnosis meant a very treatable prognosis.

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Meet the Models: Katie Smith

Katie Smith was enjoying all the facets of being a new mother to her boys, ages 2 and 5. In fact, she and her husband were trying for a third. Six months prior, given extensive family history of breast cancer, Katie received her first mammogram, at an earlier than typical age, and was all clear. She carried on with family life and being a science teacher to her middle schoolers. Her seemingly blissful family existence was soon shattered, first by a miscarriage and then a devastating diagnosis of stage four metastatic breast cancer. Katie has been fighting the disease for three years now.

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Meet the Models: Amanda Gordon

Paula Gordon was a force for women. Described as a “professional volunteer” by her daughter, Amanda, it is clear the lasting effect Paula has had on generations of women, particularly her daughters. Paula was intensely passionate about women’s causes and believed deeply in organizations that sought to empower women. She had a unique way of connecting with women and making them feel seen, so much so that at her funeral, Amanda was blown away at the amount of people who expressed a deep connection to her mother.

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Meet the Models: Lisa Hennessy

Lisa Hennessy did not think twice about breast cancer in her thirties. There was no family history, but one day her 39 year old cousin called her up to tell her she had breast cancer. Lisa was shocked, but immediately began to advocate for herself with doctors. She asked her OBGYN several times if she should be tested, but given that she was 34, her doctors did not think testing was necessary. Shortly after having her third child, Lisa noticed what she thought, at the time, to be a blocked duct. Doctors agreed to screen it to be safe. On March 1, 2017, doctors alerted Lisa that she had HER2 invasive ductal carcinoma that had already spread to her lymph nodes. Lisa notes, “I immediately went into mode” and, given the aggressive nature of the cancer, on March 31st she began treatment.

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Meet the Models: Sharon DeCastro

Breast cancer has been apart of Sharon’s story for many years. She married her, now husband, after he had lost his first wife to breast cancer. She also became a step-mom to 10 year old Julia, who had seen her mom bravely battle the disease for nearly a decade. It’s why, when Sharon felt a small lump in her breast, she waived it off thinking, “lightening could not strike this household twice

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