We interviewed Nina Garcia, the lauded Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Magazine and an ambassador for the AIRS Foundation this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
1. What does Breast Cancer Awareness Month mean to you?
To me, October is always synonymous with remembrance, advocacy, and fundraising. Remembrance of all the women that have lost their lives because of cancer, advocacy because we need to make sure that women have access to health screenings such as mammograms and fundraising because we need to fund the research that will put an end to this disease.
2. How did you find out about the AiRS Foundation? What made you decide to get involved?
As someone who has a personal connection with Breast Cancer, I am very invested in the organizations fighting to end the disease and provide better options and education for women pre and post-diagnosis. Reconstruction is often a part of this that is overlooked but I found that it played a very crucial part in my recovery, and that was feeling like myself again. I stand with the AiRS foundations mission to ‘ensure that every woman, no matter her financial situation, has access to breast reconstruction after a mastectomy due to breast cancer’ because it truly restored confidence in me and I want other women to have that as well.
3. What would you like people to know about the importance of genetic testing?
Genetic testing played a vital role in my personal decision of having a preventive double mastectomy last year. We all need to have access to the best information about our health and these tests provide us with all of the tools needed when we are confronted with extremely difficult decisions in our lives.
4. What went into your decision making for having a preventative double mastectomy?
It was a very personal decision, the most personal I’ve ever taken. Before making any life-changing decision, I wanted to make sure I had the right information. That’s why genetic testing was so important, it provided a clear roadmap about my options. After consulting with my doctors, I shared my situation with my loved ones and it was such a relief to witness how much they were supportive of my decision.
5. What is your message to people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
That they are not alone. That there’s a community of strong women that went through exactly the same process as themselves. In my case, to listen to other stories explained in the first person, gave me the energy and solace needed to confront the double mastectomy. To have this support system, including your family, is vital. I won’t recommend anyone to go alone in this fight. The comfort of being surrounded by people that love you and understand you is truly necessary.
Read more about the AIRS Foundation at: https://airsfoundation.org/