Musu-Kulla Massaquoi was a mom to two girls, ages 8 and 11 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis came around the holidays and ever the incredible mother, she chose to keep the news from her family so as not to ruin the magic for her children. When she did tell family, the news was met with shock. The only girl with six brothers, the news hit them hardest because they “couldn’t really fight or protect me from this.”
She underwent a mastectomy and was told the chances of reoccurrence were minimal, so she focused her gratitude on fundraising for various breast cancer causes. Already a model for the local fashion college, she organized a fashion show and donated the proceeds to the mammogram fund at Dana Farber. It became her mission to tell the stories of different women facing the disease, as she learned those around her were survivors: “these women were badass, dressed awesome and I thought this is what it can look like, as opposed to what you see on tv. Cancer is not a death sentence. These women were walking examples of what it can look like.”
Musu-Kulla even went on to create Listen to Your Body, an organization that helps “bring other survivors together to do normal things like dance, exercise or jump rope.” Bringing women together with a shared experience has allowed for all kinds of support on their various journies. It proved especially helpful when Musu-Kulla was diagnosed with breast cancer in her left breast in 2018. By then she had a third child and was still able to breast feed with just one breast, but the scars and treatment proved a strain on her body. After treatment she decided to get tattoos over the scarring saying, “it doesn’t change what happened, but it changes how it appears.”
Today, she notes that she “feels more myself than when I was first diagnosed. I have evolved into someone different.” We can’t wait to see her best version hit the runway.