Breast cancer. It's something that touches all women in some way or another. Many women will experience it on a personal level. Of the lucky ones who fight and win the battle, many are them are compelled to examine what's important in their lives, pursue their lifelong dreams, and make a difference in some way.
To spread the word about National Breast Cancer Awareness month, iVillage spoke with three amazing women—all breast cancer survivors—who discovered their entrepreneurial spirit, and started businesses that help fellow women fighting cancer. Each of them offer a beauty or style solution while at the same time raising awareness and/or making donations toward cancer research. Here are their stories...
Blaire Kessler: Offering Natural Beauty
"When you are battling cancer, your self-image sometimes takes a hit," says Blaire Kessler, breast cancer survivor and founder of Pristine Beauty, a line of all-natural cosmetics. Hers sure did, especially since she was working in the modeling industry, which relies so much on looks during the time she was diagnosed. "My double mastectomy left scars on my skin and my hair was very dried out and damaged from the treatment I was receiving."
To help repair the damage, Kessler went on the hunt to find products and cosmetics and was surprised that she couldn't find any without potentially harmful chemicals. That's when she decided to take matters into her own hands.
"I went to the library and did tons of research on ancient remedies for the issues I was having with my hair, scarring and terribly dry skin from different cultures around the world. I took that information I mixed and matched and came up with solutions. The products I created worked so well on me; I knew I had to bring them to the public," she says.
After partnering with a team of chemists and a manufacturer, Pristine Beauty was born. "I had no intentions of starting a product line," says Kessler, "but I think we are benefitting people with breast cancer in a couple different ways." First, she says, is that Pristine Beauty's products have glamour Old Hollywood packaging with light-hearted, fun. In other words, they are natural and healthy, but they don't have a medicinal feel to them. Second, a portion of the company's proceeds go to cancer charities such as the Young Survival Coalition and the Cancer Prevention Coalition.
One product Kessler invented called "No Scary Hairy" is a hair and scalp revival serum, perfect for chemotherapy patients. "I can't begin to tell you what No Scary Hairy has done for my own hair. It looks better than before I was diagnosed with cancer."
Kessler is still undergoing cancer treatments, but is optimistic about her future. "If all goes as planned, I will be off my medication in a few months!"