In honor of the impending New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss a very special and emotional topic.
Everyone has witnessed the incredible strength, beauty, courage and style that Giuliana Rancic has displayed lately. Her October announcement of her breast cancer diagnosis moved me to tears- I actually read the news on Twitter one morning a few days after my wedding. I was overcome with audible shock and heartbreak at this devastating news to befall my absolute favorite style inspiration and career role model.
The news was made all the more poignant by the fact that I had just recently been lucky enough to meet Giuliana and Bill while on my birthday trip to Vegas with my then-fiance. I was positively gleeful, armed with my pink contest-winner bracelet, when I clutched my (second) copy of I Do, Now What?, which I had spent the previous months devouring- now I had a copy for my fiancé to read!- and I stood in line, awestruck by Giuliana’s beauty in real life and her down-to-earth persona.
It is perhaps for this reason that I have not written about her until now. I have honestly felt so close to her and her struggle to have a baby- watching all four seasons of Giuliana and Bill on iTunes repeatedly and eagerly soaking up any interview with my favorite “girl crush”. Because, when I was trying to contain my shrieks of excitement and prevent my hands from shaking while Giuliana graciously signed my book (and wrote a birthday message, of course!), my idol was harboring a devastating secret. At this point, September 8, she had already learned of her new battle with breast cancer. From her stunning Diane von Furstenburg dress to her witty remarks during her fashion presentation to her effortless smile and glow, she looked anything but a cancer patient. She was a vivacious, brilliantly shining star lighting up the Palazzo. Her energy and genuine excitement was evident to all who saw her that night, and I’m sure to anyone who has met her in person.
So when I heard about Giuliana’s health crisis, compounded by her continuing struggle to become a mother, I felt as though a close friend had been hit by the pink ribbon’s formidable enemy. She is more of a role model to me than most people realize. I even semi-stalked her career on E! back when she was still Giuliana DePandi and I was still in high school. Why did I major in Journalism? Did I mention she re-tweeted me once congratulating me on being accepted to her alma matter, American University for grad school? Amazeballs moment if ever there was one! She has truly touched my life; I started following her example of saying out loud to myself in the car the things that I am thankful for, and my day literally feels lighter and more full of promise.
When I saw her tweet that she was going to appear on theToday show this past week, as much as I wanted to believe that it would be an announcement of a clean bill of health (or even a pregnancy!)I had a sinking feeling in my heart that Giuliana had been dealt a serious hand with this diagnosis. I felt as though she couldn’t catch a break- how could something so horrible happen to someone so beautiful, so inspiring, so good? Hasn’t she suffered enough with her miscarriage and public battle for something that comes so easily to other women?
But when I watched her broadcast (and thankfully I have it forever on TiVo) I was struck by her smile. Her genuine, warm, toothy, smile. As she was talking about her decision to undergo a double mastectomy before New Year’s Eve, she was the total pillar of strength, even as her voice shook and her eyes welled with a relatable, raw emotion. Again, I was seeing my friend sitting on that couch. There she was talking about how fortunate she is that she caught it early, and has options for her treatment and recovery process. As her loving husband held her hand, she again showed the world the definition of a strong, modern woman. A gorgeous, stylish, smart, sophisticated woman who is staring down the face of a serious disease with her perfectly lip-glossed smile. She is choosing life, and in the process, is becoming even more of a role model for any young girl who can ever hope to face challenges in life with confidence and grace.
For all things Giuliana Rancic and to learn more about her mission to educate young women on life-saving early breast cancer detection, you can visit many of her fabulous websites: www.fabfitfun.com or www.bebrightpink.org. She also graces the cover of this week’s People magazine, speaking bravely about the fight for life.
I would like to send my warmest, pinkest wishes to Giuliana for a successful surgery and smooth recovery, and for nothing but light, love and smiles in 2012!
first photo courtesy of ontheredcarpet.com
second photo courtesy of betterworldbooks.com
third and fourth photos courtesy of my iPhone (Sep 8, Las Vegas- yes that is me in the blue dress- I wanted some photographic evidence of how close I twas to G&B!)
fifth photo courtesy of accesshollywood.com
sixth photo courtesy of cbs8.com
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