SANTA MONICA, CA – The American Cancer Society has data indicating that the death rates from breast cancer fell 40% between 1989 and 2016, a decline that’s partly attributed to early detection. While the trend is encouraging, it’s not necessarily comforting for anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

For media professionals Denise Colella and Katie Kulik, who were both told they had breast cancer on their birthdays, the effect was profound not only personally but also in their work lives. At the Beet Retreat Santa Monica, where attendees graciously donated funds to nonprofit group, Colella and Kulik sat for a discussion about how their lives changed, and  how they found inner strength they didn’t know they had.

In “2017, I had just run five marathons — super healthy – and I did a self-exam and found a lump,” Colella, vice president and head of digital strategy group for media and financial services at software company Adobe, said in this video discussion. “What was so shocking is everybody saw me as somebody who was healthy. It was just a reminder that it could happen to anybody like yourself.”

Unfortunately, breast cancer affects millions of people and their friends, family and colleagues. One of out of eight women in the United States can expect to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

“When I think back on those things, it gives me strength and it gives me power,” Kulik, chief revenue officer at the Arena Group and a board member of nonprofit group, said, “and I think if I could get through that, then this is nothing. The stress I have right now is nothing compared to what we went through.”

Colella is collaborating with a friend on a social media presence and a podcast that delve into people’s experiences with breast cancer.

“One thing we talk about is the times you will never forget: the calls, the dates of your diagnosis, your surgery, your first chemo,” she said, “and these are things that will live with you forever.”


At the Beet Retreat at Santa Monica and earlier in this year in the Berkshires, we raised over $50,000 for from charity auctions and individual contributions. Please find our more about the fundraising campaign in this LinkedIn post. .