33 Dresses

Local resident creates new way to support those going through cancer

When Elissa Ashwood found out she had cancer, she was shocked.  “You feel so out of control, like all your choices are taken away,” says Elissa.  “But, not all of them are.  I wanted to feel proud of how I got through cancer, and to me, that meant finding some good in this bad thing.”

The good Elissa has found is a special project called 33 Dresses,  www.33Dresses.com, which officially launched on April 30, 2012—the day of Elissa’s first of 33 radiation treatments.  “I was standing in front of my closet wondering what one wears to radiation, and I thought, well, it’s not like you wear a party dress.  And, then I thought, well why not?  The thought cheered me up so much—and I imagined it would cheer others up too.”

Since April 30th, Elissa has been wearing one of 33 different dresses for each of her 33 treatments and she is encouraging others use their ‘good stuff’ and be good to themselves through her blog and the 33 Dresses Facebook Page.  “This isn’t a beauty contest, it’s a beauty celebration—the kind that comes from the inside out,” adds Elissa.  “And, it’s not even about dresses, per se.  It’s about doing things that make you feel good.  If I can give people a reason to do something beautiful for themselves, I will feel the ill wind of cancer will have blown in some good.”

Elissa was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2012 through her first mammogram at the age of 40.  “This just shows the importance of getting a mammogram,” says Elissa.  “The screening mammogram is what caught this, and if I hadn’t had it, I wouldn’t be wearing dresses, I’d be in big trouble.”

Follow Elissa and her 33 Dresses on Facebook.