Bombshellie Kellie

A true friend lends you her favourite sweater. A true friend doesn’t laugh when you belt out your best rendition of “Rolling in the Deep.” A true friend hugs you when you need it.

And a true friend shaves her head. Even though she’s famous, even though she has nice hair, even though she’ll invariably be compared to Britney Spears.

I’m not a country music listener. But I’m fond of Kellie Pickler, who made her adorable debut on American Idol. She stole my family’s hearts when she described eating salmon for the first time on her climb to fame, in front of millions of live-TV viewers. Now she’s a well-known recording artist in her own right.

You’re probably old enough to know that a life of celebrity doesn’t mean the living is always easy. Kellie’s bestie, Summer Holt Miller, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36. She recently endured a double mastectomy and, this month, began chemotherapy. Like so many other cancer patients facing down side effects, Summer decided to preemptively shave her head.

To support her friend – and to remind the world that mammograms are important even when you’re still in your tender young 30s – Kellie Pickler stood by Summer, and they both got buzzed into baldness together.

Incidentally, the two women have also teamed up with Athena Water, a U.S. company that’s donating a portion of profits to the American Cancer Society in honour of Summer’s battle. (Note: I’m not getting free water to write this.)

I’m always impressed when folks use their rank to spread awareness about worthy causes. In this case, Kellie’s radical haircut serves double duty. I’m sure Summer appreciates having her friend by her side on this hard journey. But the two women are also passionate about helping other women at risk. “If this compels even one person to change their mentality toward waiting until the age of 40 for their mammogram, then it will be worth it,” Miller said in a television interview.

Booked your mammy yet? Go get ’em, tigress.

Kellie Pickler and her friend Summer with shaved heads.

Friends don’t let friends face cancer alone.

5 responses to “Bombshellie Kellie

  1. I love the support of friends but breast cancer screening mammograms under the age of 50 are not recommended in Ontario – the issue is that there are lumps found that do not need to be treated and there is evidence suggesting that treating these is not the best way to proceed. Of course, if there is strong family history of breast cancer and/or other predisposing factors a woman and her MD may elect for earlier screening.

    From the following website:

    When should women have screening mammograms?
    In Ontario, it is recommended that women aged 50 and older have a screening mammogram, generally every two years.
    Evidence shows that women aged 50−69 benefit most from regular mammograms.
    The evidence for mammography for women aged 40−49 is not as strong as for women aged 50−69. Therefore, in Ontario it is recommended that women aged 40−49 talk to their health care provider to make a personal decision about mammography.

  2. Thank you for submitting this information! You’re absolutely right – it’s best for women to talk to their doctors about assessing their individual risk levels. In Summer’s case, she was acutely aware of a family history of breast cancer. It may not be appropriate for all women under 50 to get regular mammograms. But anything that opens up the conversation – including a bald famous head – has got to be a good thing.

  3. Informative. Touching. Brilliant. I’ll reblog your powerful message.

  4. Reblogged this on Cheryl Andrews and commented:
    When should women have screening mammograms? Read Lisa Bendall’s post to learn more.

  5. I appreciate the message, Cheryl! Thanks for passing it on.

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