Dianne & Shari Sussman, Breast Cancer in remission

Wear To Now was conceptualized in honor of my late grandmother, Hada Bejar Garcia, who lost a two-year-long battle to stomach cancer on March 1, 2014.

Growing up as the daughter of famous Spanish actors, she spent her childhood acting and greeted fame in her early teen years—beautiful and talented, many referred to her as the Cuban Marilyn Monroe. For many years, she enjoyed the lavish lifestyle that accompanies stardom. And though she lost her fortune at the start of the Cuban Revolution, she carried that element of glam with her throughout her life

We shared a love of fashion and would spend countless hours discussing the latest trends, share our recent purchases, and dedicated at least an hour of every visit rummaging through her closet.

Our relationship, however, was much deeper than just discussing clothes.

Jannelle Achaval, Clear Cell Carcinoma in remission

My grandmother was very wise—she was a beautiful writer and incredibly well-read. Prior to her passing, I felt very lost with the direction of my career. I didn’t know who I wanted to be or how I was going to get there. I just knew what I was doing at the time wasn’t fulfilling.

She’d patiently listen to me rant, and she would always conclude it with the simplest answer: “Stop putting so much pressure on yourself—it will come to you. Be patient.”

When my grandmother was diagnosed with stomach cancer, I believed to my very core that she would make it, never taking into account the emotional support that would be required, not just by the family, but by social workers and doctors alike. As her cancer spread, the tumor began to grow. And she began taking chemo pills, leading her to sink into a depression, which she began to display in her appearance.

Lori Cuellar, Skin Cancer (Melanoma) in remission

My once glamorous grandmother no longer had the energy to dress up. She was frail and skinny and didn’t want to go anywhere. But even so, when I’d visit her in the hospital, she’d talk about the jewelry and clothes I would eventually inherit with the utmost enthusiasm—so much so, that her heart rate would increase, and the nurse would tell us to change the subject.

When she passed, I inherited it all with the promise that I would treasure it and one day give half of it to my little sister when she was old enough to care for it herself.

At first, I had no idea what I was going to do with my new collection of jewels and lavish clothes. I wanted to use it as a way of remembering her, but I had no idea how I would do that.

Then, one morning, roughly two weeks after she passed away, I woke up and the concept of Wear To Now came to me—just how she had promised. I wanted to create a philanthropic fashion blog that helped cancer survivors discover beauty and art in their scars, while focusing on their plans, goals and dreams for the future.

Zely Santos- Formenta, Lobular Carcinoma in remission

I wanted to provide them with the emotional support my grandmother lacked. I wanted to show them that despite their new physical appearance, they were still beautiful and even if they were scared or weak, they still had the strength to make it. I wanted them to focus on the future, looking past their current situation and dreaming of the day that this would all be a distant memory and that their goals and their ambitions would one day come into fruition.

Most importantly, I wanted to give their battle purpose—I wanted them to realize they were an inspiration, not just for those battling cancer, but everyone battling any emotional or physical hardship.

If I could give them purpose, then my grandmother’s passing had purpose.

Wear To Now officially launched in October of 2014. We come together about once a month to photograph and film a new cancer survivor—so far, we’ve worked with seven models.

Photo 2 Dawn Graciano, Breast Cancer in remission

Each photo shoot is tailored to the story, personality and scars of the model. Providing professional hair, makeup and wardrobe styling services, the women are all made up and photographed, always encouraged to show their scars. The entire process is filmed, and the women are asked to share their story on camera.

In honor of my grandmother, I always incorporate at least one item that once belonged to her.

Edyna Beatriz Garcia

About Wear To Now:

The Wear To Now team includes photographer, Leslie Lyn of Flash Addiction, videographer, Dalia Madrid, makeup artists Natasha Armada of Armada Artistry and Ilka Perez of Mindset Beauty and hairstylist Jaclyn Jorgenson of MamaJax Beauty.

Other participating talents include Alexandra Murphy of Alexandra Murphy Photography and Francy Nunez of FCN photography.

For more information visit www.weartonow.org, like us on our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/weartonow or follow us on Instagram or Twitter, @weartonow.