Movement Spreads Positive Words of Hope, Education and Support to Thousands Fighting Disease
HOUSTON- At 14 years old, most girls are focused on friends, fun and the future. However, for Kandice A. Rose, her challenge was more than sugar and spice and everything nice.
Rose was diagnosed with Lymphoma Hodgkin’s, just eight short months after her grandmother passed from the same disease.
To make matters worse, during her junior year she relapsed and was diagnosed with leukemia and needed a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.
Her fight for life was eased with the news that Kandice’s sister, Kaceee was a perfect match and she received a transplant at Texas Children Hospital.
Her experience made her very active in the fight against Cancer and was recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” for the fight against HIV/AIDs in the African-American community and for involvement in East Austin community and advocating her peers about disease awareness and prevention.
In 2005, she lost her only brother with sarcoma cancer and that increased her involvement, activism and volunteerism to a level where she wanted to reach youth and senior citizens with her personal prevention message – even being selected to attend President Obama’s healthcare planning meeting on HIV/AIDS education in minority communities meeting at the White House in 2009.
In 2010, Rose was diagnosed a third time with cancer and a second with Lymphoma Hodgkin’s stage four and started treatment at M. D. Anderson Hospital.
“Pretty Girls” Launched Labor of Love
After this latest bout, Rose and high school friend Lindsey Apostolo formed “Pretty Girls with Cancer” in 2012, after discovering the diagnosis came just weeks apart.
Both received respective treatments, but Lindsey lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Rose – now a survivor and Founder and President and CEO of PGWC, kept their hopes and dreams alive and now uses their idea to assist cancer patients, survivors and caregivers with social services, referrals and coordinating events to raise funds for cancer patients.
“Pretty, Positive and Power against Cancer…our motto,” Rose stated in her information. “We are ready to make a difference in the way cancer plays on women and girls self-esteem.”
According to Rose, the main goals are to focus on self esteem, confidence, building relationships and connecting everyone in the battle to beat cancer together for support.
“We want to create an atmosphere for our sisters of all ages with all cancers have pre and post cancer treatment support,” she added. ‘Pretty Girls with Cancer also wants to be ambassadors in our communities educating and bringing awareness on early detection.”
LaRecya Dunn is the Administrator Director and Community Liaison for Pretty Girls with Cancer and says the effort in helping thousands do exactly what Rose dreamed of accomplishing at the idea’s inception.
“I am dedicated to PGWC for many reasons. I am a strong believer of mind over matter and i believe that the services we provide teaches and encourages cancer survivors, cancer patients, and caregivers just that,” Dunn said. “I don’t have cancer, but I have been a caregiver to a cancer patient and breast cancer runs in my family on both sides.”
She said it also helps that the founder and her are alumni and great friends.
How PGWC is Different
The focus of PGWC is not research, it’s education. Even before its programs and campaigns, Rose knew and understood the power of educating the community, boosting awareness and promoting early detection.
Some of that work comes in the form of holding sisterly events, doing signature programs, emotional support and referral services available to everyone.
“PRETTY”- What’s is in a Name?
Rose said the word pretty means lovely, charming, delightful, personable and appealing.
“When diagnosed with cancer, it strips so much away from you, it affects your entire life more than anyone knows,” she said. “It is so important to keep yourself in a positive mind frame and know that you are bigger than cancer.”
She said she encourages pretty smiles, positive attitudes, loving ways and believes that keeping that delightful personality is a key that will help you fight cancer.
“We tell our sisters, “We’re too Pretty for Cancer”, because we will not let cancer dim our light.”
Organization “Nutz and Boltz”
PGWC is a registered charity and non-profit organization.
Funds raised go toward supporting volunteers and creating educational and prevention campaigns in the community and bring awareness on:
- Be the Match Registry
- Recognizing Early Warning Signs
- Knowing You Cancer Risks
- Taking Control of your life and living healthy
The annual budget also includes shipping and postage, printing and promoting materials, phone and internet, volunteer training, office supplies and travel to events.
Other programs and campaigns offered include:
- “Too Pretty for Cancer” campaigns
- Tots of Love Program
- Sisterly Relations
- Support-A-Care Giver
- Glamping Retreat
- Kouture 2 Fight Kancer
- All Pink Zumbathon
- Coinz 4 Kids with Cancer
Education and Awareness Programs include:
- Be the Match Programs
- Community Outreach
Her efforts have been recognized by many including being the youngest nominee to receive “Top 30 Influential Women in Houston” for her work with PGWC.
It has been successful and inspiring to countless thousands, because both Rose and Lindsey believed you can keep your self confidence, stay positive and be powerful while fighting cancer.
“We cannot do this without a team,” she noted. “We have programs for everyone. PGWC includes anyone, any age, any gender when it comes to educating and giving awareness on cancer and general health.”
How To Get Involved
Rose noted that to join a “pretty powerful volunteer team” and help you save a life , support a cancer patient or “Be the Match” or to be part of community health outreach efforts, you can visit the site atwww.prettygirlswithcancer.com to learn more.