Paulette Leaphart is Walking 1000 Miles Topless for Breast Cancer

Paulette Leaphart is Walking 1000 Miles Topless for Breast Cancer

“I don’t want to give them a pretty story wrapped up in a pretty pink bow about breast cancer because that’s not what it is. This is it, across my chest.” -Paulette Leaphart

On April 30th, Paulette Leaphart is taking a stand for breast cancer by walking 1000 miles, completely topless. Two years ago, Leaphart was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer and had to have an immediate mastectomy with no chance for reconstructive surgery. The mastectomy (and a lot of chemotherapy) saved her life, but Leaphart wasn’t done fighting. Tired of the way breast cancer awareness was being raised with pretty pink bows and “Save the Boobies” t-shirts, Leaphart made two big decisions. The first was to post a topless photo of herself on Facebook. The image immediately went viral, shedding light on the truth behind the pretty pink story of breast cancer survivors. The second action she decided to take is her topless walk, 1000 miles from Biloxi to Washington D.C..

Enter Emily MacKenzie, director extraordinaire (you may know her as co-writer and editor of HBO’s First Comes Love), who made the decision to follow Leaphart’s journey with one goal in mind — to retell it to others. Starting April 30th, MacKenzie will be collecting footage of Leaphart’s journey over the span of ten weeks until she reaches Washington D.C. in time for her 50th birthday. The footage will then be weaved together in a documentary, entitled Scar Story.

I was immediately excited when approached with this film. Even though it’ll still be a while until anyone can see it, I am already inspired. Leaphart is not only embracing her body in a beautifully empowering way, but she is also calling out our society’s deep-seated need to hide the ugly. Cancer isn’t a beautiful pink ribbon or a pretty pink story; it is a devastating illness. Leaphart is reclaiming her body, her experience, and on top of it all, she is looking to drastically change public health policy once she gets to D.C.. I don’t know about you, but this is a story I want to follow.

You can learn more about Scar Story here or on Facebook here. If you feel inspired you can donate to the kickstarter here.

Cover image courtesy of Scar Story.