Cancer Survivors Belly Dancing Together

By: Kristine Alarcon

belly dancinc

In Charlottesville, Virginia, women cancer survivors are belly dancing together at the My Body Raqs class. The belly dancing class was created specifically for cancer survivors to help them cope with movement through gentle dance. Any cancer survivor is welcome after treatment and diagnosis as no dance experience is required and the class is free.

Jenner LaFleur is the program director and a two-time breast cancer survivor. During her recovery from her surgery after chemotherapy, radiation, and mastectomy, she hoped to combine her experience with cancer and her passion for dance. LaFleur hoped to restore confidence and strength in survivors and ultimately help them feel more like themselves again.

The first series of the My Body Raqs class is from May 7-June 25. There other sessions planned from September-October and January-February.

Kristine Alarcon graduated at the University of San Francisco with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is working towards certification in Sterile Processing and Distribution. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.


“Cancer Survivor Helping Other Survivors Recover with Dance.” NBC 29. Retrieved on May 9, 2015.

Photo Credit: (NBC29)

Cancer Survivor Story: The Cards She Wished She Got

By: Kristine Alarcon


When Emily McDowell was 24-years-old, she survived Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma after nine months of radiation and chemo before going into remission.

With a background in design, Emily McDowell launched “Empathy Cards” when she was 38-years-old. She started this project to say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill. As she was undergoing treatment, the hardest thing for her was isolation and loneliness. Her family and friends were at a loss for words and sometimes expressed things that were hurtful even though they were not meant to be. The greeting cards are meant to find better ways for families, friends, and patients communication with each other whether it is mental illness, chronic illness, cancer, etc.

The Empathy Cards have a minimalist style with bright colors and a homey feel. McDowell hopes that the cards allow people to connect and that those who receive the cards feel that they are loved, understood, and seen.

Kristine Alarcon is a senior at the University of San Francisco working towards a Bachelors of Science in Biology. She is a Social Media Assistant at Cancer InCytes Magazine.


Hohenadel, Kristin. “A Cancer Survivor Designs the Cards She Wishes She’d Received From Friends and Family.” Slate. Retrieved on May 9, 2015.

Photo Credit: (McDowell, Emily)