By Rev. Dallas Teague Snider
Photo by Liesa Cole
You have probably heard on one or more occasions the following advice: Pick your battles. While that’s often wise advice, sometimes we don’t have that luxury.
Sometimes battles pick us, and we are faced with no choice but to determine what if anything we can do to help in a time of crisis.
Christy “CeCe” Todd was faced with this challenge as she watched her mother-in-law battle stage 4 breast and bone cancer. Told that she had just six months to live, Christy’s mother-in-law managed to fight the disease for nearly five years.
In the midst of this battle, Christy’s daughter was born. It was then that both Christy and her husband Greg vowed to do whatever they could to ensure that their daughter could grow up in a world without breast cancer. Greg participates each year in a three-day, 60-mile walk for breast cancer, and Christy was looking for a way to use her talents as a floral designer to help with the cause. She created Blooms Against Breast Cancer to repurpose wedding and event flowers to “sell” each week in exchange for donations to support breast cancer awareness. The success of this effort encouraged her to be open to other ways she could make a difference with her gifts and talents.
Having met so many women who had been touched by cancer and no longer felt beautiful, once again Christy was inspired to use her floral gifts through another project—Pink Portrait Affair. Intrigued by her commitment and passion, I asked Christy to share with me a little more about the Pink Portrait Affair project and how she would encourage others to #ThinkLoveFirst and use their gifts to make a difference.
What is the vision behind the Pink Portrait Affair?
We started the Pink Portrait Affair to help women feel beautiful again, because we had met so many women who no longer felt pretty due to the ravages of cancer and its treatment. We used flowers to cover the scars, and our greatest joy has been hearing the participants say they felt beautiful for the first time in years. They walked out of the photo session with confidence and a new community of support with women facing similar challenges. Arden Upton photographed the participants, and we will be having a gallery release party for the public in January of 2017. The Gala will raise funds for research while honoring the ladies who fight so valiantly.
Did you face any challenges?
My original challenge was finding people who are as passionate about the cause as my husband and I are. Thankfully, Arden shared our passion and has a unique ability to turn photos into stunning works of art. As she came on board, we also got many of our wedding vendor friends to donate their time and talents to the project. As owner of CeCe Designs and Events, talented and creative individuals surround me. We reached out to this community and many of them came to lend their time and talent.
Our ongoing struggle continues to be getting the word out about the project, raising necessary funds for the expenses of having the portraits printed, framed, and displayed, and finding a time and date that works best to reach the most people effectively.
What is your personal mission or motto?
“Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle” is my personal motto. I try to be a light in a dark world and bring joy to the room. Our motto for the Pink Portrait Affair is “Reminding the world of the beauty that was never lost!”
How do you #ThinkLoveFirst in what you do?
The entire project is based on thinking love first. Our main goal was to remind the ladies of the beauty in their lives. The portraits, the gala, and the social media buzz are all icing on the cake. We pampered the ladies with love, hair/makeup by Melissa Bogardus and her team, and our volunteer staff at Bridgestreet Gallery and Loft. Arden and Mo with Arden Photography captured the day perfectly, and we cannot wait to share it with the world.
What advice would you give others about being that light they are destined to be?
Never give up on your dreams. If you know that God has set something in motion for you, then don’t let anyone tell you that you are not equipped. He equips you perfectly for his passionate plan. Surround yourself with people who love and support your dream and remind you of the importance if you ever forget. My loving husband, Greg, who reminds me daily to keep pushing to make a difference, surrounds me with encouragement. My Mom, Peggy, is my constant support who has taught me how to love people, find a purpose, and make a difference.