“Throughout my breast cancer journey, I found my truth. I’ve been given a second chance at life to make a difference in other’s lives.” - Noelle Rose
MK: Who is Noelle Rose?
NR: I am a passionate dancer, known for my fiery-red hair and personality.
MK: When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?
NR: I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 36 years old, and I was stripped of all I had.
MK: What was your mindset at diagnosis?
NR: At the time of my diagnosis, I was taking my Grandmother for her chemo and radiation treatments. I was frazzled. I experienced a myriad of emotions - from sorrow, to anger, to fear, sometimes within moments of each other; but then the warrior in me rose up. I knew I had to be just as brave as my Grandmother. I vowed to fight this disease and conquer it.
MK: How did your breast cancer diagnosis change your life?
NR: My life and the life of my family changed radically. We had no insurance at the time and had to sell our home to save my life. I’ve often felt guilty, but my husband and son reminded me that my life was worth it. Selling our home, to me, was essentially selling our future security and our son’s inheritance. It saddened me greatly, but I knew there would be a light throughout the darkness. While it was a great upset to lose my home, I gained fortitude in my character, a new life and a purpose that I hadn’t had prior. Most importantly: I reclaimed all I had lost, rebuilt my life - my body and mission.
MK: How has this experience awakened you to yourself and your purpose?
NR: I previously danced for what it could give to me; I now dance to see how I can give to others through dance.
MK: Tell me about your advocacy work.
NR: It was challenging to rehabilitate my body and dance again, but now I use what I went through to tell my stories by dancing it through my company: Rubans Rouges Dance. My performances help empower other women and encourages them. I dance with my scars to let others know that they too can heal…in more ways than one. With these performances I raise funds for cancer research, I speak publicly to raise awareness, we partner with fashion designers to use these designs in our performances, I teach free community wellness classes that combine dance movement and a journaling session that gives women an opportunity to share with others experiencing similar things. I also produce and perform formal dance concerts nationally to get the message of hope out. It also lead to expanding my company mission to included other challenges women face such as overcoming sexual abuse, equal rights, etc.
MK: What word do you wish you could take out of the breast cancer vocabulary?
NR: Death. My mom and grandma died from cancer.
MK: If there was one thing you could change about breast cancer and how people view it, what would that be?
NR: Shame and stigma. I found, there’s a point of view that some have about a woman not being as beautiful, whole or as powerful once this disease hits them. Being a dancer, I felt shame and the stigma of not “being whole” anymore because a portion of me was missing. I hid the truth and used super padded bras to hide my “shame”. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin because one breast was smaller than the other now. Being a survivor doesn’t mean that you are ugly, or less of a woman, or weak. Actually, you are quite strong. Even those that are sadly no longer with us, they still fought valiantly and are brave, strong women.
MK: Why is it so important to you to support other women with breast cancer?
NR: They need to know that they are valuable and worth the fight to save their lives.
MK: What would you tell a newly diagnosed young woman?
NR: That you are more powerful than you think and more valuable than you may know. Do not give in to hopelessness, you can be victorious. Cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Never give up.
MK: Has cancer changed how you see adversity?
NR: I face all things with strength that I didn’t have prior. Give me a mountain and I’ll figure out a way to move it.
MK: What one word defines you?
NR: Warrior – a Dance Warrior.