Love & Be Yourself: How Chiara D'Agostino Helps #SpreadHope

It's not often that you come across a story about someone's fight against cancer and leave feeling uplifted, inspired, and motivated. But Chiara D'Agostino's outlook just has that effect on people. Read on, and see what we mean.

We met Chiara D'Agostino through our friends at CancerCare and we felt an instant connection. Chiara is many things: model, blogger, event planner, fundraiser, and breast-cancer fighter, but above all of this, she is an inspiration. From fearlessly walking the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, to raising awareness about body positivity in the cancer community and beyond, Chiara motivates us to be unapologetically ourselves. See how her originality, optimism, and grounded attitude helps #SpreadHope where it matters most.

You're a big champion of women finding the bravery to be “unapologetically themselves.” Has your cancer journey helped in shaping that belief?

In my social media, I talk a lot about the struggle dealing with the feelings that I have had, how I get through them, and what means I use. I talk about being true to yourself, and I am pretty transparent. I'm clear with what I look for, I create boundaries, I'm a pretty effective communicator, and I support other people that are also unapologetically themselves. So I guess by speaking up and out about my cancer journey, I am also helping to inspire people to also be unapologetically themselves.

You post incredibly inspirational pictures of women's chests post-mastectomy. What do you hope sharing these beautiful images will achieve?

I am a visual person and I'm hoping that these images educate people on options and the truth of what happens. It's the smile on the women's faces that really matters, and how they feel in their bodies with whatever option they have chosen. I want people to realize that we all have our different scars and different stories and our own struggles and joys, and that's okay. I want our eyes to get used to a different way of looking by showing these different beautiful female figures and by making it more normal.

For women who have recently been diagnosed, it can be incredibly hard to find hope. What would you say to women who are struggling to find optimism in their cancer journey?

To people who have just been diagnosed, I'm all about saying, “I'm here for you.” I try to give small advice like “bring a friend to the doctor,” “take notes,” or “get a copy of all of your medical records.” There are lots of places that offer phone, in-person, or online counseling. It's so important to know that there are support groups out there, and you don't have to go through this alone.

Earlier this year, you participated in New York Fashion Week along with other breast cancer survivors in walking the catwalk. How did being a part of such an empowering show make you feel?

The word empowering is a good way to describe how I felt during that show. It was a wonderful energy seeing women supporting each other. To be able to walk in New York Fashion Week as an amputee, with a double mastectomy, it was so interesting. The designer asked if I would mind going topless and I actually liked the idea. And when I walked out there, I didn't feel like there was anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It was just, “this is me.” I'm still a woman, I'm still me, I just have a scar.

CancerCare is an amazing resource for those affected by the fight against cancer. Could you share with us why you feel CancerCare is such an impactful outlet and support system?

I think CancerCare is such an important support system. Whenever I needed some sort of advice, I was able to call them and I really felt like they worked hard to go through their resources to help me speak to the right person. They also offer counseling, which has been really monumental in the change that I felt early on when I was diagnosed. I was able to see a cancer therapist and talk about cancer with someone who really understands and specializes in it, which felt really comforting and like I could let out all of my feelings in a safe environment. I've even made some friends at CancerCare events. CancerCare gave me a sense of community and gave me resources. I felt like I was understood and I felt like I was home.

Being body positive and true to yourself while uplifting and supporting one another are all qualities that Chiara champions through her advocacy and openness. We hope that her ability to spread hope by simply being herself inspires you to do the same. Here's to being uniquely you.