New York-based jewelry and accessories brand Alexis Bittar has joined forces with celebrated hairstylist Jimmy Paul for a two-part initiative in aid of Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC). To raise momentum and funds this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the longtime friends enlisted five women currently going through treatment to sit in Paul’s chair as they grapple with hair loss and learning about wigs, before being interviewed by Bittar, sharing their personal stories of strength and grace in the face of their cancer diagnosis.
The campaign will also encompass a 48-hour sale across the six Alexis Bittar boutiques and on alexisbittar.com from October 4 to 5, where 50% of everything sold will go directly to LBBC. It’s the third time that the popular brand has supported the non-profit, which, rather than fund research, takes a hands-on approach to raising money for those who need real-world support, whether that’s paying rent, helping with transport, offering therapy, and so on.
The video element of the campaign sees both women who wished to be interviewed bald or showing their hair regrowth, while others wore wigs which were donated by True Indian Hair Company and fitted and styled by Paul for the campaign. On camera, they each spoke with Bittar about what the immediate fear they faced gave way to, with responses ranging from the beauty that can be found in trauma to thoughts on legacy, child rearing, spirituality, and how they have an overall renewed outlook on life.
Mom-of-two Jenny Burkholder speaks about the importance of identifying the uplifting moments in an otherwise debilitating time. “Treatment is punishing,” she admits. “Find the ways that are going to support you: people who are going to support you, therapies that are going to support you, all of those things. Take the opportunity to live in some sort of happiness or joy, wherever you can find it—if it’s spiritual, or if it’s writing, if it’s dancing, music, whatever. Having a cancer diagnosis can be incredibly joyless.”
Michelle Anderson-Benjamin adds that she doesn’t want to shrink behind her illness, but instead use it as a lesson in strength for her kids to see. “I want them to understand that this is what Mommy has to go through,” she says, “but I also want them to see how I pushed myself, how I made sure that regardless of what I was going through, I still showed up, when I could and sometimes I couldn’t. In reality, these are also life lessons. Cancer doesn’t have to knock you on your ass.”
Watch the video, featuring Anderson-Benjamin, Burkholder, as well as Keneene Lewis, Megan Rust, and Emily Hunt at the link below.