Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Dina Roth Port, mom of two children and frequent contributor to Parents. She is also the author of Previvors: Facing the Breast Cancer Gene and Making Life-Changing Decisions.
You might not like some of her movies. You might think she’s a little out there (at least during those Billy Bob Thornton years.) You might be a little peeved that she can take care of six kids and still look poised and breathtakingly beautiful all the time.
Whether you like her or not, one thing is for sure: Angelina Jolie is a hero. She’s using her celebrity for good by telling women with a genetic predisposition for breast cancer that they are not alone. Some may fear dealing with tough decisions alone, not realizing there are thousands upon thousands of other women who completely understand what they’re going through.
In today’s issue of The New York Times, Jolie publicly shared her very personal decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy. As she says in her op-ed piece, “I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”
Jolie’s letting women around the world know that they no longer have to live in fear of breast cancer. They have options. They can determine cancer risk by testing for a BRCA mutation and taking charge of their health in ways that previous generations never could. Jolie knows this all too well. When she tested positive for a BRCA1 gene, she knew she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 44% chance of developing ovarian cancer. She knew she was a previvor — someone who has not had cancer but who has a high risk for developing it. Since her mom died of ovarian cancer just six years ago, Jolie knew that it was a major red flag that there might be a BRCA mutation in the family. After finding out that she did inherit the mutation, she decided to do something about it.
Of course, there are naysayers: “I can’t relate to Angelina Jolie. She’s a celebrity with endless resources. Her life is nothing like mine.” But getting a double mastectomy is a very difficult, personal decision for any woman, as I learned interviewing the five women featured in my book, Previvors: Facing the Breast Cancer Gene and Making Life-Changing Decisions, all of whom had to make choices — some had surgery, some did not — just like Jolie. Sure, she may be a famous, multimillionaire engaged to Brad Pitt, but Jolie’s still a woman taking steps that can potentially save her life. And, as a mother, Jolie decided she would do what she needed to do to protect her children (just like any mother would). She is showing women that, after surgery, it is still possible to look and feel feminine and whole. She is also showing women that it’s possible to make tough decisions and still have the support of a loving partner.
I thank Jolie for sharing her story and for encouraging women to learn about the ways they can protect themselves. She is incredibly brave for doing so, particularly since her journey is not over. Thank you, Angelina Jolie, for putting such a public face to the word “previvor.”
More about breast cancer on Parents.com
- Doing Battle Against Breast Cancer
- 6 Ways to Tell Your Kids About Breast Cancer
- Breast Cancer Risks and Myths
Image: Angelina Jolie in Berlin via Shutterstock.
Somewhere out there last night a mom (or perhaps a dad) became Parents magazine’s one millionth Facebook fan. I wish I could meet you, #1,000,000, but instead I must be content imagining you: You care deeply, so deeply, about your child(ren). You strive to stay on top of the latest news for families, whether it’s on serious issues like gun control and kids’ health or lighter fare like birthday cupcakes and the latest royal baby buzz. You speak your mind. You support your friends. You fight for what’s right. You poke holes in what’s wrong. And you celebrate the joys of being a parent, even as you’re cleaning up the messes. Now that I think about it, that probably applies to all of you, whether you’re fan #1 or #150,000 or the mysterious millionth.
If only George Hecht, the children’s advocate who started Parents 86 years ago could see all the many ways our community of families connects and communicates today. He would be so awed by you. Those of us who bring you Parents—on Parents.com, in print, in our tablet edition and yes, on Facebook—are awed by you too.
There’s a little treat posted now, a sample of some of our more popular posts for our fans. But we at Parents are really the fortunate ones because we get to hear from you in a way Mr. Hecht never dreamed would be possible. Whether you’re ranting, raving, supporting one another, sending us the love (or, yes, sometimes skewering us!) we value your opinions, your humor, your stories, your shares.
Keep ‘em coming! And click here to get your thank-you treat.
Dana Points is the editor-in-chief of Parents.
Student Fires Police Officer’s Handgun On Northern Virginia School Bus
A student accidentally shot a police officer’s handgun on a Northern Virginia school bus on Monday. Four students were on the bus at the time, along with the police officer, the bus driver and a bus aide, and no one was hurt. (via Huffington Post)
Bed rest during pregnancy could worsen risk for premature birth, study shows
New research is raising fresh concern that an age-old treatment for troubled pregnancies – bed rest – doesn’t seem to prevent premature birth, and might even worsen that risk. (via Fox News)
Video Game to Help Kids Fight Cancer
Re-Mission 2 is a collection of six free online games–accessible via Web browser or Apple iPad–that share the theme of taking the fight to cancer. They do this by arming patients with a virtual arsenal of chemo, radiation and targeted cancer drug attacks designed to crush advancing malignant forces. (via Yahoo News)
Philadelphia doctor guilty of murdering infants in late-term abortions
A Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty on Monday of murdering three babies during late-term abortions at a clinic serving low-income women. (via Yahoo News)
Buena Vista School District Officially Closes For Year, Offers ‘Skills Camp’
For the 400 or so students in Buena Vista, Mich., school is over, even though the academic year isn’t supposed to end until the middle of June. Instead, they will likely attend “skills camp.” (via Huffington Post)
Categories: GoodyBlog | Tags: abortions, bed rest, camp, cancer, education, Gun, gun safety, guns, health, pediatric cancer, Pregnancy, premature birth, school, school bus, skills camp, study, video games
Jacob Barnett, 14-Year-Old With Asperger’s Syndrome, May Be Smarter Than Einstein
When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken. (via Huffington Post)
Pollution May Increase Kids’ Risk For Diabetes
Living in a highly polluted area could increase a child’s risk for developing insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, Medical Daily reported. (via Fox News)
Obesity ‘obsession’ Causes Underweight Children To Be Overlooked, Researchers Claim
A group of researchers claim the public’s “obsession” with the obesity epidemic has caused many to overlook the issue of underweight school-aged children, BBC News reported. (via Fox News)
Teens Texting At The Wheel Tied To More Driving Risks
Teenagers who text while driving are also more likely to engage in other risky activities, such as riding with an intoxicated driver or not wearing a seatbelt, a new study suggests. (via Reuters)
Recording Reveals K12 Inc., Florida’s Online Education Provider, Struggled to Comply With Law
The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting and State Impact Florida have obtained internal emails and a recording of a company meeting that provide new insight into allegations that K12 Inc., the nation’s largest online education company, uses teachers in Florida who do not have all of the required state certifications. (via Huffington Post)
Categories: GoodyBlog | Tags:
I am lucky not to have any food allergies, but I still want to make so many of the delicious-sounding recipes in Elizabeth Gordon’s new book, Simply Allergy-Free: Quick and Tasty Recipes for Every Night of the Week. Just looking at the gorgeous photos in the book, you’d never know that ever recipe is free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and nuts. Author of the blog My Allergy Free Life and owner of the online allergen-free bakery Betsy & Claude Baking Company, this busy mom of two girls has multiple food allergies. She says, “I like to think of these recipes as the little black dress of my pantry—simple and economical fare that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.”
She shows you how to use (and where to buy!) key ingredients like xanthan gum, agave nectar, superfine rice flour, powdered vanilla rice milk, and sorghum flour, which can make gluten-free and allergen-free foods taste like “the real thing.” The recipes I can’t wait to try include chicken tikka burgers, chickpea French fries, beef tostadas, corn quinoa salad, herbed biscuits, and chocolate pretzel pie. Yum!
I’ve been to a ton of great talent shows over the years, but none have come close to impressing me as much as the Garden of Dreams Talent Show. The free event, put on by the Garden of Dreams Foundation and the Madison Square Garden Company each April, gives children struggling with unfortunate circumstances, such as illness and homelessness, the chance to forget about their problems by showing off their talents on the Radio City Music Hall stage.
I blogged about the show beforehand after chatting with celebrity host Tony Vincent and was expecting it to be chock full of great performers from his behind-the-scenes preview. What I wasn’t expecting was to be sitting in the audience with tears in my eyes after each act. To watch these genuinely talented kids express themselves and their hardships through their performances was an experience I can’t quite put into words.
Take 5-year-old Malik Naser, for example. Malik has to receive daily blood transfusions due to an illness and uses music as a distraction during the difficult routine – but you’d never know from the way he stood center stage sporting a fedora and bow tie as he sang Bruno Mars’ “Walking on the Moon.” Or there was 10-year-old Jeremy Dickinson whose love for singing got him through his neuroblastoma. He says he decided to perform “Put on a Happy Face” because he was always smiling, even through his toughest treatments. And if those two didn’t melt your heart enough, 6-year-old Julianna Pierre, a pediatric cancer patient at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, sweetly sang her favorite song from The Lion King, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
The 15 other acts ranged from a seriously talented break dancing group called “High Energy” to rapper Kasean Session, whose powerful lyrics are about witnessing his mother’s murder when he was 6 years old.
The amped up audience, awesome celeb hosts (New York Giants Super Bowl champ Victor Cruz, the Rockettes, and Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels from Run DMC – to name a few), and unlimited free popcorn made the whole night as fun as it was touching. I can’t wait to see what will come of these young role models and what the Garden of Dreams Talent Show has in store for next year.
Check out the Garden of Dreams video below (shown at the beginning of this year’s show) to see for yourself how incredible these kids truly are.
Photo: Performer Malik Naser with New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz
This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.
Happy Mother’s Day!
In celebration of moms everywhere, let’s take a look at Hollywood’s newest matriarchs who will celebrate their first Mother’s Day on May 12. From Drew Barrymore, to Giuliana Rancic, to Shakira, to Adele, look through our list of 15 star moms celebrating for the first time this year.
Reality stars Giuliana Rancic and Bill Rancic welcomed their first child, son Duke, on August 30. The new mom opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her big plans to celebrate her first Mother’s Day.
“Bill and I are having our moms come to LA for Mother’s Day – to make it special for all of us,” she shared. “We’re planning a fancy bunch with the whole family at a nice hotel in Newport Coast and then a walk on the beach. Really, I just want to relax and enjoy the day together as a whole family.”
She added: “This Mother’s Day is especially meaningful because it’s my first time to celebrate as a mother, of course! After struggling for years to have a baby, it’s a real gift to be able to spend the special day with Bill, Duke and our family.”
Before welcoming her first child, daughter Rainbow, on March 5, Playboy model Holly Madison spoke to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her hopes for her first Mother’s Day.
“I hope my boyfriend [Pasquale Rotella] and I can find something fun to do that someone only a few months old will enjoy,” Holly shared. “Maybe we will take her to the Springs Preserve (a park here in Vegas) and see if she reacts to any of the animals and the nature.”
The Hills alum Kristin Cavallari, 26, welcomed her first child, son Camden, on August 8.
Engaged to Camden’s dad, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, Kristin recently chatted about the joys of motherhood.
“Motherhood came very naturally to me. I’m enjoying every second. He’s such a happy, sweet baby. Every day is something new and exciting. Being a mom means being responsible for another life and it no longer being about you. It’s the most rewarding thing in the world.”
Rock of Ages star Malin Akerman, 34, and her drummer husband, Roberto Zincone, welcomed their first child, son named Sebastian, on April 16.
“My husband and I welcomed our beautiful, healthy baby boy to this world this morning! Biggest joy of my life!!! #lovemykid” Malin announced via Twitter Tuesday.“PS and his name is … Sebastian Zincone )) Love him more than life itself!! #whatafeeling !!!”
Parenthood star Dax Shepard, 38, and House of Lies actress Kristen Bell, 32, became parents in March.
The longtime couple welcomed a daughter on Thursday, March 28. “Lincoln Bell Shepard is here,” the proud new papa announced via Twitter. “She has mom’s beauty and dad’s obsession with breasts. Hooray!!!”
“My new roommate poops her pants and doesn’t pay rent…basically Dax pre-sobriety,” the new mom added via Twitter. “Welcome baby Lincoln.”
Categories: GoodyBlog | Tags: Adele, Amber Rose, anna faris, Anna Paquin, celebrity baby scoop, Claire Danes, Drew Barrymore, guiliana rancic, Holly Madison, Kristen Bell, Kristin Cavallari, malin ackerman, Megan Fox, Mother's Day, shakira, sienna miller, snooki
Can I tell you how many cribs we build here at American Baby? About a dozen a year, sometimes more…enough that we know a sturdy crib when we see one. Bonavita Lifetyle Cribs go in the “built to last” category. They are cribs that convert to a toddler bed, and then to a headboard and footboard for a fullsize bed, so though they cost a bit more, they’re made to last for all of childhood.
There’s another reason I like cribs that grow with your kid…you’re not tempted to try and make a crib work for new baby siblings. You introduce safety hazards every time you take a crib apart and then rebuild it for another newborn, because you risk screws growing loose or going missing. Keeping a piece of furniture with one child, turning it into a toddler bed and then fullsize bed, eliminates those problems. I am something of a safe-sleep evangelist, so here’s a link with more on making your crib safe.
In time for what may be your first Mother’s Day, Lajobi, the parent company behind Bonavita, will give you the opportunity to win their “Sawyer” Lifestyle Crib, in Linen Gray. The crib only comes out in June 2013, and will be sold exclusively at Buy Buy Baby for $500. To be eligible to win, leave a comment below, up to one a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, May 15. We’ll randomly chose one winner after that. Click here to view the official rules. Goody luck!