This is Michelle and Ilana. I recently photographed them in preparation for the launching of their online matching service. But…this is not just any matching service.
Ilana and Michelle had been friends for many years, but the bond between them grew with their shared experience of having breast cancer. Although their personal cancer stories were different, they both realized that staying active during treatment and long after treatment ends was more important than ever — and helped more than just the body.
As Ilana said, “It gave me the strength and energy that worry and treatment took from me.” Michelle and Ilana know firsthand how difficult it is to summon the energy to be active during this time, and their friends were instrumental in keeping them moving. “Everyone can benefit from a partner to inspire and motivate us to move, and that’s whay we founded 2Unstoppable!” Michelle told me.
2Unstoppable is a non-profit organization that these enterprising and caring women created to help women with a cancer diagnosis find the right exercise partner. Using a free online matching program, women are paired based on needs, interests, abilities, and other criteria. The goal of the program is to help forge powerful, motivating and supportive partnerships to encourage physical activity during treatment and long after treatment ends.
Studies have shown that: Physical activity plays a critical role in improving breast cancer outcomes, enhancing the recovery process, and facilitating secondary prevention.
I was so pleased to help out Michele and Ilana with some professional headshots for their website. We met for coffee a few weeks before the session, and as I listened to them talk about their personal stories, I was reminded of my mother – who for the 5 years she dealt with ovarian cancer, walked on the beach almost every day, even when it was the most difficult. I also think of my own running crews and the Moms Run this Town organization that I have been a part of for a few years – that gets me up and on the trail every morning, despite extremes of cold and heat – it’s more than running, it’s running therapy!
I can’t wait for the matching to begin and to watch these women who have gone through something that could have been such a negative actually turn it into making a positive impact both for themselves and for others. Please pass on this information to anyone in the DC area (and beyond) to let them know about 2Unstoppable and the free fitness buddy matching service! You can learn more and stay in touch with 2Unstoppable by subscribing to their newsletter at their website and follow them on Facebook.