In an effort to empower women across the country, The Today Show decided to kick off Breast Cancer awareness month by asking for volunteers of women, who had undergone treatment, to come meet at the Today Plaza at Rockefeller Center in New York City (NYC) and be featured. Many people sent their information into the network, excited about the chance to share their story and Jennifer Campisino was one of those women. Unfortunately for her, there would be no opportunity at this time. She received an email from the people at Today that read, “Thank you so much for your response. We are specifically looking for women who can be bold and bald on the plaza for an empowering movement to support breast cancer.”
Now, you might be asking yourself why she was bald. Heck, everyone who sees a patient with hair, assumes that they are doing well and they might have even recovered. This is not true for women with metastatic breast cancer, which is what Jennifer Campisino has.
Metastatic breast cancer means that the original diagnoses of breast cancer has changed. It is no longer at the primary site. The cancer, at this point, has spread to different soft tissues of the body or to the bones or blood. Many of the women undergoing treatment for metastatic breast cancer take different medications, including chemotherapy medications that no longer make a person lose their hair. A woman with metastatic breast cancer can be any age and the spectrum of health can vary. Some might be in bed all day, while others are going about with their daily activities. Some of these women even have jobs. When you look at a woman or even a man with metastatic breast cancer, because let’s not forget that men can get it too, there will likely be no indicator to an outside observer that the disease is prevalent in that person’s body.
This is exactly what was “wrong” with Campisino and why she was not allowed to get on the show. She was not the only one, as a matter of fact. Many women posted on The Today Show’s social media pages in order to make it known that not everyone with cancer is bald, but bald or not, they all mattered. I know this because I was also one of the people who posted on the page and I saw firsthand, the type of blow that response was for every single person with metastatic breast cancer.
Eventually, the news got to the producer of the show and she called Campisino back to request a meeting. They ended up making it right by doing a whole segment on metastatic breast cancer. Although not everyone who wanted to participate was able to get the same response, it was a small victory in the world of metastatic breast cancer.
It’s time to go beyond the pink and also invite people to celebrate those fighting against metastatic breast cancer. Let’s join the fight with the Metavivors and beat it once and for all!
Blog By Nancy Santos