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Self-care is important for us and part of self-care is taking care of our breasts. While research has made great strides in mammogram technology and detecting breast cancer, scientists have yet to find a way to predict who may have breast cancer.

But we now have the opportunity to use our VOICE to make a difference. A HUGE difference.

Yes. We have power. As stepmoms. As women. To use our voice to help scientists find ways to predict a woman’s probabilty of developing breast cancer.

I want to make you aware of The Army of Women and encourage you to join. AOW is an organization that is focused on helping YOU.  And helping your daughters, your stepdaughters, your (step)mother, your nieces, your sisters, your cousins, your friends.

One Million Women. One Research Goal. One Revolutionary Opportunity

The Love/Avon Army of Women (AOW) is a unique program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. This program is funded through a grant from the Avon Foundation for Women.  The AOW provides an opportunity for men and women to take part in breast cancer research studies aimed at determining the causes of breast cancer – and how to prevent it.

The AOW is a groundbreaking initiative that connects breast cancer researchers via the internet with women who are willing to participate in a wide variety of research studies.  The goal of the Army of Women is to recruit ONE MILLION MEN AND WOMEN of all ages and ethnicities, including breast cancer survivors and those who have never had breast cancer.

Now your ONE voice can make a WORLD of difference to ALL women.

Please Watch this to see why I joined the Army of Women One Voice

Yes. I joined to honor my mom who is a 15 year breast cancer survivor. And I joined for my  two daughters and  my two stepdaughters so that when they are my age, breast cancer will be something that can be easily predicted and cured.

As a few housekeeping notes, there is absolutely NO COST to join The Army of Women. And they are NOT asking for donations. The AOW is interested in recruiting One Million Women to sign up and agree to hear about studies.  Participation in any of the studies is ALWAYS, COMPLETELY voluntary.

When you join, you will be involved in important research to discover THE CAUSE of breast cancer – how to stop it before it starts.

And as a member of this army, you have the ability to participate only in those projects that interest you.  YOU can opt to decline any study invitation, or accept any invitation of your choosing.

Please join the movement that goes beyond the cure. And don’t just sign up to join the Army of Women but also invite all your family and friends

So who will you invite to join you? Your mother? Your friends? Your sisters? Your adult stepdaughter? Your mother-in-law? And yes, your stepkids’ mom?

What a beautiful way to connect with all those women. And what a wonderful way to work for the future of your stepdaughter by inviting her mother. Two voices. Together. To make a brighter future for the girl you both love. Wow!

As you know, my blog is dedicated to stepmoms. I care about you. All of you. I truly do care and that’s why I’m taking this opportunity to urge you to get involved in the fight against breast cancer.

Will you join me and this wonderful army of women? Will you use your voice to make a difference? Together we can help The Army of Women reach their One Million Goal and get closer to moving beyond the Cure.

I watched the premiere of HUGE and I’m hooked. And note that I am not one to watch TV. The premise of the storyline intrigued me and also the fact that @JessWeiner was so excited about it as I truly respect the work she does for young women. (great follow on twitter).

I had planned to watch the show with my oldest daughter and oldest stepdaughter and my babysitter and her friends but just like the “best laid plans of mice and men”, the viewing party did not come to fruition. So I watched it alone and was completely enthralled.

What struck me immediately was the gritty reality of the show. I have to admit, I winced a bit when Wil took off her clothes to reveal her swimsuit. At first, I thought wow what a gutsy character but then it hit me she is so hiding behind her weight and her humor.  What a great job the writers did in creating her character and other characters on the show.

In my humble opinion, ALL people struggle with insecurities and it begins in the tween years.  For this group of kids, many hide behind their weight. They also hide behind their tough exterior and their abrasive personalities.  But all kids and many adults hide behind something. We are all so terrified that we will be found out. That others will discover we’re not perfect and therefore not worthy of love.  So sad but so true.

True love is unconditional yet our society constantly bombards us with conditions that make us lovable; pretty + thin + smart + wealthy = love

As adults many of us know that is simply not true, but many tweens and teens don’t.

I know I’ve only seen one episode but I think this series can really make a difference and open up dialogue between kids and parents and kids to kids to discuss some serious matters.

What saddened me the most during the show was when Wil’s character would reference how her parents are embarrassed of her and other campers made comments how their parents’ approval is linked to their weight. The message was clear to these kids –  my parents don’t approve of me because they think I’m fat. Therefore, my parents don’t love me.  And lets face it if kids feel they aren’t worthy of their parents’ love then who will ever love them. I know this to be true as a stepmom. My stepdaughters have even said “if my own mom doesn’t love me, why would anyone else ever love me.”

I hope parents are watching HUGE.

What we say and how we say things to our kids is so important. I know personally some great people who have children that are overweight. They are at a loss to help them so they’ve started teasing which they think will prompt them to eat healthy. No. Stop. Kids need to feel loved unconditionally by their parents. When parents tease about weight, the child doesn’t hear “we want you to loose wait to be healthy” the kid hears “you are a total failure and I’m embarrassed of you.” I hope this show makes the scales fall of the eyes of many parents on how they talk to their kids about weight and other issues.

Parents; you may not think it is so but your kids listen to what you say and how you say it. You are a HUGE influence in their life.

I’ll be tuning in Monday, July 5th for the next episode. I hope you will too. If you missed the first show, you can watch it on ABCFamily

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