It’s worth a thousand words for sure. You can tell a lot just by looking at it. But not everything. Here’s 10 things this picture won’t tell you.
1. She’s had breast cancer . (That one’s a giveaway.)
2. Her name: Barbie Ritzco. Her name always makes me think of a Barbie doll, which is about the furthest thing from who this Barbie is.
3. She’s tough. Breast cancer forces everyone to toughen up but Barbie was uniquely qualified to fight it. As of this year, she’s served 20 years in the marines.
4. She first felt her lump when she was training and about to deploy to Afghanistan as a gunnery sergeant. She did not want to let down her fellow marines, and she went anyway. Her story is included in a book The Pink Moon Lovelies: Empowering Stories of Survival.
6. The above explains one reason Barbie is known in her breast cancer community by another name: The Warrior Queen.
7. She co-founded Flat and Fabulous, where I first heard about Barbie (this group of brave women is highlighted in my TED talk.) Says Barbie’s co-founder Sara Bartosiewicz -Hamilton, “Barbie’s vision of Flat & Fabulous was never to be a “cancer” group – she wanted a place to EMPOWER women who were living without reconstruction. ..She was adamant that we focus our efforts on the spiritual/emotional healing and pushing our F&F sisters to embrace their beauty.”
10. Barbie is currently in the ICU due to complications. As her community of survivors rallies around the Warrior Queen, Sara wrote about what she decided to do. “Barbie is quite proud of her tattoo and she wanted to the world to see that she truly is FABULOUS. She always wanted this photo to go viral. Let’s help do that for her.”
Ellen, hope you’re listening.