“Project Runway” judge and Elle editor-in-chief Nina Garcia revealed she’s to undergo a double mastectomy. Garcia shared the news that she’s skipping New York Fashion Week for the first time in 25 years to recover via a heartfelt letter, published by the magazine on Thursday.
The fashion veteran’s “battle of the boobs” began in 2015 after she tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation that results in a high risk for breast cancer. Following three years of multiple mammograms, breast checks, biopsies and lumpectomies, Garcia and her doctors decided in January that a preventive double mastectomy would be the next step.
“I was living in a loop of testing, every day waking up thinking: Is today the day I will get cancer?” Garcia writes. “I no longer wanted to have these scary thoughts, and I knew the only way they would stop was to schedule the surgery. The answer was clear.”
Garcia goes on to explain the struggles of opening up about the procedure to family, friends and colleagues. She was soon met with many women who support her decision and are helping to make post-surgery an easier process.
“I realized I’d entered an incredible community of strong women who had been through this and wanted to help, share their stories, and support me,” she says. “For the first time in years, a dark cloud lifted, and I felt a sense of relief and clarity about my choice.”
The Colombian fashion editor also addressed her privilege to access insurance and medical care, while millions of women around the world do not, which encouraged her to open up in the hope it’ll lend comfort to others experiencing a similar situation.
“In all this, I have learned that you have to pass it forward, be there for people, be open about your life. I ultimately decided to write this in hopes that my story might serve as a comfort to at least one woman out there who is going through something similar,” Garcia shares. “For that woman, I want you to know that you are not alone.”
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