Bravo’s Married To Medicine reality TV star, Dr. Jackie Walters, a physician and two-time breast cancer survivor, will kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting the seventh annual 50 Shades of Pink Fashion Show And Fundraiser this Saturday, Oct. 5.
Just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Walters and the 50 Shades of Pink Foundation she founded in 2013 will host its annual fashion show and fundraiser at 6 p.m. at the Atlanta City Hall (55 Trinity Ave SW, Atlanta).
All proceeds from the fundraiser—themed “Futuristic”— will benefit 50 Shades of Pink Foundation’s mission of treating the inner and outer beauty of breast cancer warriors. The organization also raises funds and supports other health initiatives, including Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer, teen pregnancy and endometriosis.
The 50 Shades of Pink Foundation, founded by Walters in 2013, draws more than 300 influencers, civic leaders, thought leaders, dignitaries, politicians, and breast cancer “warriors” to Atlanta’s City Hall Atrium for an event that supports breast cancer patients, advocacy and cure advancement.
More than 30 breast cancer warriors, like Tiffany Porter, will strut and pose in a fashion show, modeling top designer fashions from local designers Calapo by Carey and Bramer Leon Couture.
“The fashion show is an outlet, a day for me to dress up, to feel beautiful and to forget about my disease,” says Porter, a mother of four. “The women in the show are courageous and brave for living through this. We step out of our reality and have fun. It gives us a sense of normalcy and excitement to be a part of something on such a grade scale.”
Porter said she is currently battling her second bout with breast cancer. She survived in 2008; unfortunately, the disease reoccurred in 2018. She undergoes medical treatments every three weeks.
“Tiffany looks fantastic at all times, even while in the fight,” Walters said about Porter. “Whether she’s going to the grocery store or heading to the gym, she puts her makeup on. She knows that’s what gives her the edge. Tiffany is probably the textbook picture of 50 Shades of Pink.”
Walters graduated from the University of Mississippi and Alcorn State University, earning dual Bachelor of Science degrees. She later earned her medical degree from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine.
In 1997, Walters completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology from the Medical Center of Central Georgia and Mercer University. After residency, she started in private practice where she became affiliated with Northside Hospital in Atlanta. She has remained in private practice for 18 years and maintains a high-profile clientele that includes the Braxtons, rapper T.I., and superstar Usher.
In her practice, Walters merges traditional and steadfast medicine along with a cutting-edge method that focuses on the mind, body and spirit. She’s also incorporated a Women’s Wellness Program and a “Fit Is the New It” initiative into her practice to promote healthy living and awareness of heart disease among women.
In 2004, Walters found herself on the other side of the doctor’s office when she received her first cancer diagnosis. She underwent a double mastectomy after her second diagnosis in 2008.
“As I went through my treatment, I was heartbroken to see the spirits of other warriors broken. Their hope was low,” Walters said. “But as a physician myself, I knew that having a positive attitude impacts how you respond to the treatment,”
While battling breast cancer herself, Walters said she began sending care packages to other patients and counseling them to provide spiritual support. To date, hundreds of cancer patients and survivors have benefited from her foundation.
Walters said she was inspired to establish the 50 Shades of Pink Foundation while undergoing chemotherapy. The treatment darkened her nails and skin and made her feel horrible.
She said she would dress up, wear lipstick and nail polish, and “whatever else I needed to push myself, and I know when women look good, we feel good and when we feel good, the studies show we do much better.”
Walters pointed to troubling research numbers that show Black women are 20 to 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
“Some of that we’re not going to be able to change, it’s just our genetic makeup and the biology of the type of cancer that we typically end up with,” she explained.
But to lessen the risk, Walters said Black women especially should learn their family history, exercise to maintain their ideal body weight and also practice preventative health by getting regular mammograms.
“(October) is breast cancer awareness month and early detection is your best protection, so get your breast checked,” she said.
Walters also shared details about her life in remission, now more than ten years after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Mentally, I’m super,” she said. “I spend my days building up other women so much that I don’t have room to have too many down days. Physically, I’m better than most because I love working out.
“As for me, emotionally? Some days you have to work hard to be better than others.”
Likewise, Walters said the most rewarding part of 50 Shades is when women also tell her, “I feel good.”
After Walters successfully beat cancer she immediately began to give back and, in 2012, held the first-ever 50 Shades of Pink luncheon serving over 100 women.
“To see these women strutting on the red carpet… laughing and sharing, is something I will never forget,” she said. “I never wanted it to end!”
“When you look good you feel good,” she added. “Our goal is to treat the inner and outer beauty of breast cancer patients and survivors who undergo the difficult and painful treatment process.”
Walters said that she knows that preparing to walk in a fashion show can be unnerving for some of the warriors who will be participating. But she offered some sage advice for the warriors who will take the catwalk on Saturday night:
“When you get up on that stage, act like breast cancer is in the audience. Show it how great you look and feel.”
Cheryl Collier contributed to this report.