By Scott T. Sterling
Survivor Stories is a series featuring interviews with breast cancer survivors — or their family members — about their battle.
After Chiara D’Agostino’s 2014’s breast cancer diagnosis, she left her career as an Italian teacher to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a model.
“I had chemo, two single mastectomies, many implant infections, it was clear to me that I couldn’t go back to the job that I had,” D’Agostino explains. “I was getting a lot of compliments as how my hair was growing back, it was growing in short, gray and wavy. I always wanted to be a model and I was told that I looked good in front of the camera, so I thought, I feel like I was almost dying with cancer it gave me a wake up.”
Chiara has appeared in Oprah magazine twice, walked the runway at New York’s fashion week and more. In 2016, Chiara was diagnosed again, but this time with stage four breast cancer which has now spread to her lungs, sternum, lymph nodes and liver. She began a blog, “Beauty Through the Beast,” and an instagram page where she shares very honest photos of her journey living with breast cancer.
“I like to post pictures of myself mostly topless, some of me feeling really sick,” she says. “I like to show all the different stages of breast cancer, the realness of it and I hope it’s inspiring to other women at any age. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the page, so I’m happy to hear when someone says that it gives them confidence or courage.”
A quarter of a million young women living with breast cancer were diagnosed before their 40th birthday. The Young Survival Coalition and CBS Radio are raising awareness through the annual We Can Survive concert on October 21st at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
“The most important thing for young women to know is that young women can get breast cancer. Know your status,” insists Jennifer Merschdorf, CEO of the YSC and a breast cancer survivor herself. “None of us are safe from this disease. Do self exams, and there are plenty of us out there and plenty of organizations.”
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, for every ticket sold, $2 will benefit Young Survival Coalition, the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.