Montclair Times Guest Editorial: ‘It takes a village to say boob-bye’

Montclair High School Class of '89 classmates at a recent breast cancer fundraiser supporting Chiara D'Agostino, left, in emphasizing the importance of breast health. Alongside D'Agostino are, from left, Karen Love, Jenny Pareja, Abbey Rezzano, Ashley Swierk and Tara McGurk.
It was on our front porch on Walnut Street where I grew up that I told my mother I had breast cancer, October 2014. I went to Mountainside Hospital, where I was born, and learned from Dr. Jan Huston that I had stage 2 triple negative breast cancer. My oncologist, Dr. Stephen Abo, eradicated my aggressively growing tumor with the combination of ACT chemotherapy. Dr. Michelle Blackwood, my breast surgeon, and Dr. Ross Cooperman, my plastic surgeon, removed the ailing breast at St. Barnabas Hospital in April 2015.

I dined at Fin Raw Bar and Kitchen to celebrate a clean prognosis and the owner, whom I’d never met before, learning of my good news, comped the bill. Another stranger, Nonna from La Belle Vie, upon learning of my diagnosis, continues to wax me for free. Beauty Brain Creative donates her time to design my blog, www.beautythroughthebeast.com, where I faithfully catalog my journey.

And most recently, Israel from Bangz Salon & Wellness Spa offered his chic location for my upcoming Boob-Bye party: on Nov. 17 I’ll have a prophylactic mastectomy and am asking for my female friends to surround me with their love and light the night before, extending the invite to #sistersurvivors or any female who could benefit from learning how to be proactive about her breast health. Dr. Ross Cooperman will be present to answer questions.

Unemployed during cancer treatment, I set forth to ask local establishments for a donation to the party, and so far Bistro 18, Tinga, Salute Bistro, MishMish, Le Salbuen Cafe, Raymond’s, Uptown 596, Fricassée French Bistro, Jackie’s Grillette, Sandwich Theory, Tiny Elephant, Mundo Vegan, Red Eye Cafe, De Novo European Pub, Nicolo’s Italian Bakery & Deli, Le Petit Parisien, Gina’s Bakery, The Little Daisy Bake Shop, Creative Confections, Java Love, Sweet Home Montclair, Miss Nicky’s Loving & Healing Cookies, Jonathan’s Balloons, Montclair Stationary, and Acme have committed.

Photography and deejay is courtesy of Noble Studios. Jacob, an employee at Le Salbuen, even chased me out of the restaurant, offering his prayers and help for serving. The Boob-Bye party, for women only, is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, at Bangz Salon & Wellness Spa, South Fullerton Ave.

I’m deeply warmed by the cumulative volunteer effort brought forth by heartfelt people in my hometown in support of cancer awareness and my surgery.

It truly takes a village, and I am so proud to say I am from Montclair. Thank you!

Chiara D’Agostino is a Montclair resident.