ONLY ON KOLD: Beyond the battle with breast cancer
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - It's a word we all hate to hear and it has impacted nearly everyone ... cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will face breast cancer.
Nadia Larsen's diagnosis was grim.
"I was shocked at first when I got diagnosed.," she said. "I was like, 'Oh, why did I get cancer? I eat right, I don't drink. I don't smoke. I exercise.'"
In early 2015, Larsen got the worst news imaginable.
Her doctor called to tell her she had a rare form of stage 4 breast cancer that was spreading.
"I had lymph nodes removed and had several surgeries," she said. "And after that I had radiation. It was my year from hell."
Nadia has been cancer-free for a 1 1/2 years.
With a new purpose in life, she's reaching out to other women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer; using her passion for photography and the power of her lens.
That's how Beautiful Beyond Breast Cancer was born.
"You put a little make up on and you dress up in bright colors and you look good, you feel good.," Larsen said. "So to make them feel good, even if it's only for 2-3 hours and then they look at the pics. They get to pick the pictures that they want and then their family too because it doesn't only affect the person it affects the whole family."
Nadia knows what breast cancer patients are going through and a simple statement a doctor made during her treatment has had a lasting impact, telling her, "the next time I see you, you will be a survivor like me. So it worked for me."
I asked her if she finds comfort knowing she's doing that for other women and Larsen replied, "yes." She says that makes her proud as she wiped away tears.
Yolanda Weinberger is in the fight of her life.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer three months ago and is undergoing weekly chemo infusions. She said it's important to have a fighting mentality.
"I'm on a quest to destroy the cancer in my body," she said. "Nadia didn't have to give this. She didn't have to give this from a place of love and hope in her own heart yet she has."
Snapshots capture Yolanda's strength in the face of adversity as a beautiful cancer warrior.
"These photos are a reminder that not everything working in the world is evil," Yolanda said. "There's beauty and love and hope there. I think it's important to normalize to a certain extent that, yes, women go through this, and yes, you can still be beautiful in the midst of the ugliest fight of your life."
Yolanda is documenting her fight against cancer in a blog. She takes a humorous, yet deep and honest look, at the emotional impact of her fight and her strong will to win.
Nadia wants to expand Beautiful Beyond Breast Cancer to reach even more women.
Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.