Surviving & Thriving: Words from our 2019 BBC Models

Surviving & Thriving: Words from our 2019 BBC Models

BUST Breast Cancer Bra Art Fundraiser is an absolutely unique event that has earned the recognition of one of Baton Rouge’s best. It is a very special night where we celebrate survivorship and raise awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection.

The 2019 BUST Breast Cancer Bra Art Fundraiser was a huge success as we packed the event center of the L’Auberge Casino & Resort to raise over $350,000! All profits from the event go to fund Woman’s Hospital breast cancer outreach, mainly the mobile mammography program. With sincerest gratitude, we would like to thank all of our sponsors, donors, participants, and attendees for making it such a spectacular night.

As we look back on such a fun night, we share messages from some of the breast cancer survivors who were the models for the event:

Kathleen Bonaventure: diagnosed at 46 and is a 6 year survivor

“Being a part of #BBC2019 was such an amazing experience! I was able to meet some of the most incredible women, who I now consider friends for life. I know I can speak for everyone when I say we felt like complete rock stars being able to get all dolled up and walk the runway. It was a night I will never forget!”

Advice to women: Educate yourself about breast cancer and the importance of early detection. It’s important to know your body and be your own advocate when it comes to your health.

LaTasha Geason: diagnosed at 39 with Stage 1 Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

“In one word: exhilarating! I was extremely excited to participate and could never have imagined the amount of love and support I’ve received from the audience and attendees. The event is now almost part of my DNA.”

Advice to women: If you’ve been recently diagnosed with cancer, just remember that this is YOUR life and you control it. Take charge, take faith, and live it!

Joy Lonibos: diagnosed at 45 with Stage 3B Invasive Ductal Carcinoma

“Being a part of #BBC2019 was the most empowering and emotional celebration of winning these last 5 years of my life. There are days when I see my scars and I don’t see or feel pretty. But that night, I felt like the most beautiful woman in the room. It was incredible to be surrounded by 25 other women who felt the exact same way. It was a night I will NEVER forget!”

Advice to women: Know your body. If you feel something, see something, think something… say something! Monthly exams and timely mammograms can save your life.

Stacie DeBlieux: diagnosed at 38 years old

“I attended BUST Breast Cancer in 2018 while I was still undergoing chemotherapy treatments, with radiation and surgery still ahead of me. It was the most touching and uplifting experience, to see all of these women with their own stories walk out as fierce fighters and survivors. I was incredibly honored to be included in that group this year. It was unforgettable.”

Advice to women: Breast cancer is not the end of anything, and certainly not the end of the world. It is the beginning of a process. And while the process isn’t easy, it can be beautiful and uplifting. It’s not dissimilar from a marathon you didn’t sign up for – lots of hard and unseen work to be successful, but enormous pride and strength at the completion.

Renee Mann: diagnosed at 29 with Stage 1 Breast Cancer, ER+, BRCA 1+

“BUST Breast Cancer was a very inspiring night. I never thought I would be on a stage or runway in a bra, but there was something so empowering about everything that night. It was like, looking breast cancer directly in the face and saying, “You may have tried, but you didn’t. I won!”

Advice to women: It’s important that women who may have been recently diagnosed take things one day at a time. Don’t think of the extreme future; rather, think of the present and focus on making the most of those moments. Allow yourself to have bad days, knowing it’s ok to cry and be upset every now and then. But, stay strong, stay focused, and fight on!

Lynn Weill: diagnosed at 38 and is a 32 year survivor.

“Being a model for BUST Breast cancer was very emotional; but more importantly, very motivational and extremely fun!”

Advice to women: Don’t put off your mammogram, schedule it today! Early detection is important. Be diligent about your self-exams and stay on top of your health with an annual mammogram. I know that a mammogram helped save my life.

Holly Stars: diagnosed at 34 with Stage IV, Triple Negative Breast Cancer

“I was told shortly after my diagnosis that life is never guaranteed and to make the most of it each and every day. One way I’ve made the most of my journey was agreeing to be a part of #BBC2019. Being considered a survivor with my diagnosis wasn’t ever guaranteed, and still isn’t, so being on that stage with other strong women who knew my struggle and fears was something so special. One of my favorite parts was looking into the crowd and seeing everyone’s reactions of excitement, love, and unbridled support.”

Advice to women: Never underestimate just how strong your are. Going through cancer brings on some dark days, but always remember the light at the end and that you are surrounded by so many people willing to help you through it. Never be afraid to ask for help, ask for support, or ask for love. We all need it and we’re all here to give it!

Lauren Meher: diagnosed at 35 with Stage III A, HeR2 Breast Cancer

“Words cannot fully describe how meaningful this event is! For me, personally, I wanted to celebrate being 10 years cancer free. But more importantly, standing together with all of the other fighters and survivors was really what it was all about. Everyone gained a little more strength through our solidarity. This is a club no one wants to be a member of, but to feel the presence, strength, and joy from everyone was a humbling and empowering moment that I will never forget.”

Advice to women: The best advice I can give comes from advice I received, it is to take everyone one day and one decision at a time. Going through cancer, you are faced with so many choices with so many confusing parts and pieces that it can become overwhelming and scary. So, remember to just take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and focus on winning the day.

Crystal Antie: diagnosed at 35 with Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer with BRCA2+

“Being a model for BUST Breast Cancer was absolutely amazing! I was so nervous and it was completely out of my element, but I am so glad I did it. The event, itself, is so special, but to be a participant and walk the runway is something I can’t fully put into words. I wanted to celebrate myself and my journey, but most of all, I wanted to celebrate with everyone else who has earned the title of survivor. We are part of a sisterhood now, and that is such a blessing to me and has really helped me get through this journey.

Advice to women: Have your mammograms done regular, complete self-exams regularly, and speak up when you feel something. Equally important is to know and understand your family history of cancer, which can affect your risk for cancer. But, being informed and aware can greatly increase your ability to beat cancer.

You too can join the fight against breast cancer by supporting BUST Breast Cancer. To find out how, or to request more information on the event, please email us or call 225-924-8749. For sponsorship opportunities, click here.

To see photos from the event, click here to access the gallery by Kleinpeter Photography.