A Leap of Faith: My Big Ask is all about Giving.



This post is about a leap of faith, giving and asking.

Thank you Amanda “Fucking” Palmer and Brene Brown for making ASK-ing and vulnerability less scary, even when we aren’t asking [only] for ourselves.

I’m not going to lie, ASK-ing is scary, that’s one of the reasons I chose that word for 2015.

This is about our world being bigger and more important than US.

It’s about making a difference no matter your circumstances.

Our lives don’t only belong to us.

This is about changing lives, and hearts.

So, I’ve decided to take a leap of faith, if it works out it could be the best way I can ever give back.

YES! I’ve already been told I am crazy to take this on while going through cancer treatment myself.

I like many, currently have no end date for treatment, so I live life “all in” these days.

For a teeny tiny minute feelings of fear swept over me. “What if i fall flat”




Oh yes! There’s a back story!

Warning: This is a bit long.

During my chemo training and first chemo session waaay…back in March of this year I met a woman who tugged at my heart. She was alone with no support and she was already living with physical limitations. I couldn’t get her off my mind, so I reached out to her. She said she was scared to have her porta-cath put in her chest and was worried that chemo would hurt. I shared my [newbie] experience of getting my port and chemo with her, reassuring her that chemo wasn’t painful. She said it made her feel better to hear it from someone who was also going through “it”. I offered to go to her first chemo treatment with her.

Days later, I still couldn’t get her off my mind. I started to ASK what would make me feel acknowledged and cared about if I was alone and afraid. The chemo room is full of people going it alone.

I decided I wanted to do something to soften her experience– something that represented a little reassuring hug.

In the meantime I attended a Look Good Feel Better session a great program that provides the how to of hair and skincare meant to raise women’s spirits during chemo. This volunteer program is amazing. I only had one small issue, ALL the skincare and beauty products used were full of chemicals. EKKK.

We change many life habits, yet forget that we continue to slather our bodies with chemicals through hair dye, hair products, makeup, and skin/ body care. Studies that link the ingredients in personal care products to cancer , especially breast cancer, are astonishing!

Light bulb moment!

I decided to create a care tote for my chemo sister that contained natural products, something she could take with her to every chemo session. I sourced the things I needed during chemo, and I knew every person going through it would need at some point. I found a cute tote bag and sourced out items for hydrating lips, hands and body [our skin gets dry, my hands became like sandpaper]; items to help with hydration and natural snacks [some of us need to take food with our pre-chemo anti-nausea meds] sugar is not our body’s friend. I included little inspiration cards and a “from one chemo sister to another”- note.  I dropped the bag off anonymously with a chemo room staff who agreed to help me out, and she does “Intel” for me about who could use a care package. Since March I have taken care totes [specific to needs] with me to the chemo room every time I go for treatment.

Speed Bump: Early in, I realized that gathering and sourcing natural products was becoming challenging financially and quite frankly physically exhausting. I needed to ensure I was caring for myself along the way.

Light bulb moment # 2

I was already personally using a line of vegan, gluten free, GMO free, no animal testing, paraben free products by a company named Arbonne, which I credit  as part of my wholistic regime, for keeping me healthy during chemo, except that purchasing these items for the totes was cost prohibitive.

Being a resourceful gal, I began to ask some questions to find an affordable way for me to get these products in the bags and into the hands of women [and men] with cancer–ALL women and men for that matter. While I respected and believed in the value of crowd funding sources, I did not feel comfortable taking funds from people without a way to give back to them as well. I can’t legally accept funds directly because I am not a registered charity. Plus, I wanted an environment where contributors felt a deeper connection and benefited personally from giving. Hence choosing the path I have. It supports my values of transparency and integrity.

I desired a WIN WIN.

I realized that signing on as a consultant I would enjoy a generous discount on every Arbonne product ordered, this money would allow me to purchase quality products for the totes. Kind of like when you buy girl guide cookies and chocolate covered almonds, except I won’t knock on your door unannounced.

I met with someone I trusted to tell me the truth about how it all worked, as we chatted I felt like I was home.

This piece to my “how can I serve” prayer had been answered.

 SO what? Why?   Ahhh, my favorite questions

According to the 2015 Canadian Cancer Society Report, 196,900 women [Canadians] will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015. By 2038 over 277,000 Canadians can expect a cancer diagnosis.

1 in 2.4 women will be diagnosed with breast, lung or colorectal cancer in their lifetime.

1 in every 16 women in Canada will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Every hour in Canada 22 people will be diagnosed with cancer.

519 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every day.

I’m going to be busy!

I believe it is important for every woman to feel beautiful, healthy and supported during cancer and critical illness. I also know that many with cancer do not get support; we get lost in the shadows. Since my diagnosis many people in my life have disappeared into thin air, or some just popped in to get the “juicy information” to share with others – never to be heard from again.  Some watch from afar.  It is all super hard even though I know it’s all their stuff.  It’s the most common thing I hear from others with cancer. I want every woman with cancer to shine and feel supported regardless of their situation.

I have BIG dreams for expanding my support for women living with critial illness, life altering events and cancer.

I have started those conversations– stay tuned.


How can you help?

Since my diagnosis many of you have asked me how you can support and help me.

I NOW have a meaningful way that you can all support me in supporting others and benefit at the same time.

I chose Arbonne because of the integrity of their products, the amazing support network, and the diversity of the product line that includes nutrition, skincare, makeup and body care detox products all in one place.

Your purchase of products will help me to fill care totes for those living with cancer/critical illness and chemo treatment. 

Given the cancer statistics it’s likely that many of you know someone who has cancer [other than me]. Maybe that person needs some support and connection. If you have someone in mind that would benefit from a care tote please contact me.  I am happy to mail care totes.

There will be two local events held starting in mid-October where you can hear me tell my story and my BIG WHY. And about future plans for expanding my dream of giving back to those with cancer and critical illness outside of the chemo room.   You will be invited to come eat, connect, try on and taste and buy products that I know you will fall in love with [dates TBA] around my own treatments.

If you are local and would like to attend  please email me at thebeautifulreal@gmail.com or private message me on Face book.


You can visit here and place an online order which, will be shipped directly to you in Canada, USA, Australia, and even Poland. Who knew?

Easy. Peasy.

If you want to try a specific product I am happy to send you a “try me” package in the mail.

If this cause doesn’t interest you, please share and pass it on to someone who may be interested. Thanks!

The plan is to elevate my brand, and website The Beautiful Real and my published writing platforms into a resource and strong voice for women living with cancer and other critical illness, especially those who feel they are isolated or live in the shadows of fear.

….More about that coming.

When we want to make a difference in the world  it needs start right here right now, so  I’m starting close in. I’m starting with what I know from personal experience. I’m using my voice and compassion to reach others who want to make a difference.

I AM doing something.  Something that I know how to do.

Something my heart has not let me ignore.   I AM EXCITED and I AM ASKING.

Help me change some lives– generous souls. XO





cancer Courage Life Wellness

Leave a Comment

  • Sue Ann Gleason October 4, 2015, 6:13 pm

    I have Amanda Palmer’s book on my shelf and have yet to read it. Thanks for the nudge, Dana. I, too, have a tough time asking for things that I need. I loved reading about your care bags and the amazing commitment you have to these women. I would love to contribute to the bags but for me, skin care is a jar of coconut oil. It’s about the only thing I can find that is that pure. Perhaps I can make a donation instead?

    And this: “The plan is to elevate my brand, and website The Beautiful Real and my published writing platforms into a resource and strong voice for women living with cancer and other critical illness, especially those who feel they are isolated or live in the shadows of fear.” Yes. xxoo

    • Dana October 4, 2015, 6:27 pm

      Sue Ann, thank you. I am unable to accept funds unless I am a registered charity or non-profit. Down the road I am hoping. :) There is so much more here than skincare, AND I have a big jug of coconut oil on my vanity as well.

  • april October 7, 2015, 4:53 am

    dana – you are so inspiring! you have been a spokesperson for all since the moment you were diagnosed. it gave me goosebumps to read about how you befriended and comforted the woman going it alone during chemo. thank you for your huge heart. i’m rooting for you all the way!

  • Michelle October 8, 2015, 1:45 am

    Dana, you are beautiful. Real. Inside and out.

    I was crying when you told the story of the woman who was going through this alone. I know firsthand how single women (especially those without kids) are often forgotten. We do EVERYTHING on our own. Every. Thing. Even when we’re sick. When I had the swine flu, I had to try to cook my own meals, clean my own dishes, etc. It was so depressing. And so hard. I was so ill. It was a painful wake-up call. I cannot even imagine having to go through chemo alone. I’m crying again. That woman is so lucky to have you. Incredibly fortunate.

    About the ASK-ing… we single women get quite accustomed to having to pay for people to help us. Surprisingly, when I’ve swallowed my pride, mustered up the courage, and asked for help (And I do mean actual “help” with things, not money)… I’ve been shot down. Not all the time. Thank God. But I’ve been told “no” in some of my most desperate hours. By people who are fortunate to have the extensive (and free) support of husbands and family members. I cannot even explain to you how that feels.

    You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know, Dana.

    Much love,


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