I attended my first C4YW (conference for young women) in 2008. It was such an amazing experience that I have wanted to come back year after year. This year marks my fifth. (I had to miss it 2011.)
On Friday night, I taught a belly dancing class for attendees. I led the class for the first time at last year's conference in New Orleans. It received such wonderful reviews that I had the honor of being invited back.
I've been belly dancing for more than 20 years and teaching for more than 10. I danced throughout my treatment and doing so helped me regain flexibility and range of motion, as well as empower my post chemo and mastectomy body.
I tell bits of my own story as we drop this or shimmy that. There are nods and looks of "yep, been there" from the faces before me. You can imagine the bevy of comments from the peanut gallery as I explain doing chest lifts or offer the helpful hint that if you hold your shoulder blades together when you shoulder shimmy "the girls"--if you have them, won't jiggle as much.
I imagine many people might expect this conference to be a serious place with an overall veil of sadness and tragedy. There are hints of those things here, but they are very much over shadowed by the strong, determined young women who are here to educate themselves to better advocate for their own health and that of others, and by all of the laughter joy and beauty that abounds.
CURE invited Lori Toombs to share her experience at the C4YW (conference for young women affected by breast cancer) being held in Seattle this weekend. The conference is sponsored by Young Survival Coalition and Living Beyond Breast Cancer.