Make sure you visit our Instagram to enter our giveaway with SmartyPits!
Then enjoy this guest post by SmartyPits owner, Stacia Guzzo.
It’s amazing how a few words can change the course of a life.
That’s how it was when my mom and dad sat me down one summer afternoon to let me know she had found a lump in her breast. They’d had it biopsied and the doctor had determined it to be a very aggressive form of cancer: they’d have to start treatment immediately and it would not be easy.
In that moment, I remember not knowing what to think—I was confused and a bit dazed. A few moments earlier, cancer hadn’t been on my radar. Chemotherapy and radiation and surgery didn’t even come close to my perception of what the future held for my family; in fact, I had been thinking about our family vacation planned for Christmas and wondering what we might have for dinner that night.
“I have cancer.” Those few words changed everything.
My mom’s rounds of chemotherapy and radiation were not easy. She lost a lot of weight, grew very weak, eventually had trouble with her veins collapsing and having difficulty getting the IV in for the chemo. She lost all of her hair and once had to be put into quarantine for a week because her immune system couldn’t handle exposure to even the mildest of germs.
It was a very difficult time—both for her to personally go through and for those who loved her to watch and witness.
Thankfully, my mom is now a 13 year survivor, something that I think of with enormous gratitude every time I see her. Cancer taught us not to take one moment for granted.
But there’s another part of this story too: a part that started an unexpected journey for us as a result of the diagnosis.
You see, while she was going through chemotherapy and radiation, I began to do some research. We had no family history of breast cancer, and the doctors determined she didn’t have any genetic predisposition to breast cancer either. One doctor even told her it was likely environmentally influenced.
That was when I began to do some research on breast cancer, and I first learned about the link some studies have found between the aluminum found in commercial antiperspirants and breast cancer (as well as Alzheimer’s Disease). That’s when I knew I had to go aluminum free.
A devoted “clinical strength” antiperspirant user, this proved to be no easy task for me. I tried every natural, aluminum-free deodorant on the market I could find—nothing worked well for me. Either it didn’t control the odor, it didn’t feel good going on, it didn’t last, or it didn’t smell good...I just couldn’t find anything that did the job the way I wanted it to while still being free of the things I wanted to avoid.
This experience planted the seed that would, years later, become SmartyPits. After many years of learning skin care formulation, I created an aluminum free deodorant that solved all the issues I had experienced years before—while still being aluminum free, paraben free, phthalate free, and propylene glycol free.
I also wanted to make sure that giving back was a big part of our business model, so I’ve committed to donating a portion of every sale of SmartyPits back to breast cancer research and survivor support in some way. Currently, we’re partnered with City of Hope (the facility that saved my mom’s life with their therapy protocol) to donate $0.30 of every stick to their breast cancer research and education program. We’ve also donated free deodorant to MD Anderson’s survivorship conference, to Metavivor’s Metsquerade, and to several oncology centers and smaller non-profits around the country. It’s important to me that we support current therapies and options for breast cancer warriors as well as working to reduce one of the possible risk factors of breast cancer for future generations.
A few words changed everything that summer afternoon over a decade ago. I wish that my mom had never had to battle cancer, but I hope that together, we’ve been able to make something good out of something pretty awful.
And hopefully, someday, we’ll live in a world where the words “I have cancer” are powerless.
You can find SmartyPits (still 100% handmade by Stacia and her team The Handcrafted HoneyBee Company) at www.smartypits.com. Not sure where to start with aluminum-free deodorant? Take their SmartyPits quiz at www.handcraftedhoneybee.com/quiz.