Victoria St. Martin
In 2011 shortly after her 30th birthday, after accidentally scratching her chest, Victoria St. Martin gave herself a spontaneous breast exam. She found a lump and went to get it checked. Like many of the other young women diagnosed, she was told it was nothing at first, but after insisting on further examination, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She then had a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction, an IVF cycle, egg retrieval, and eight rounds of chemotherapy. Today she gets checked every three months, attends the YSC activities and support groups, and calls herself a "walking billboard for self breast exams."
One of the hardest parts of this process for St. Martin was losing her hair. "You can't see under my shirt that my breasts are going through reconstruction, but you can see that I don't have hair," she explains. "It made me feel like a patient."
But St. Martin took things into her own hands and has learned a lot about beauty and inner beauty since she was diagnosed. “The interesting thing about going through chemo was finding ways to feel beautiful after. When I lost all my hair, I did a bald photo shoot of myself...It helped me realize all the outside stuff doesn’t matter. It was such a great lesson to learn at 30: Who you are inside just alone is beautiful.”