Two years ago, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27, Apex blogger Anna Crollman found herself at a loss for resources in dealing with her diagnosis.
Sure, there was plenty of medical information out there, but what about advice on dealing with chemo hair loss and post-mastectomy style? Seeing a void, Crollman decided to create her own resource, My Cancer Chic (mycancerchic.com).
“I was looking for images of what my hair and body would look like after, and all you’d see are the terrifying mastectomy botches,” she says. “You didn’t see the young woman who’s still sexy and stylish.”
I discovered Crollman’s beauty and style site after my own bout with the disease last year. Scouring Pinterest for strategies for growing my hair and taming my “chemo curls” (a cute name for the positively maddening proclivity for post-treatment hair to grow back super-curly), I stumbled across a link to Crollman’s guide for making the most of post-chemo tresses.
Crollman’s site includes everything from beauty tips for makeup with a bald head and no eyebrows, to ways to style unruly post-treatment hair, to finding clothing that fits a surgically altered body. She also offers a catalog of resources covering topics that range from wigs to wellness.
For Crollman, the site isn’t just about makeup and hair; it’s about maintaining some sense of the pre-diagnosis self.
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned is for cancer patients, having a way to control your appearance and look good while you’re going through something so devastating is so important,” she says. “It’s so much more than just fashion and beauty. It’s a focus on self-confidence and self-love.”
In the two years since the site’s launch, Crollman has built a following both on her blog and social media (she has thousands of followers on Instagram and Facebook). And this year, she partnered with New Balance to help women find comfortable, well-fitting sports attire for their post-surgery bodies.
Juggling the site and all its related social media and outreach can be tough – Crollman also has a full-time job at UNC-Chapel Hill—but it’s worth it to help other women navigate the difficult path of cancer treatment.
“The part that makes me feel most proud and happy is when young women reach out to me and share images of themselves feeling confident and happy,” she says.
Area designers to show at Greensboro Fashion Week
Three designers with Triangle connections will show on Greensboro Fashion Week’s Emerging Designers night, Sept. 22. N.C. State grads Jasmine Rhodes and Savannah Martin, along with Apex resident Emily Costlow, will present collections during the designer showcase. The show will be held at the Elm Street Center; tickets are $75-$150 and available at greensborofashionweek.com.
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