[Nathaniel Lee | The Philadelphia Tribute]

“When you go through cancer and all that you go through, you lose a little bit of the woman side of you. You lose your hair, your breasts nine times out of 10, your spirit gets broken down a little bit… It was really important for us to get that back and really be in sort of life”

Survivors of breast cancer and other members of Traci Smith’s Sister Circle gathered at A Sensual You Pole-Dancing Studio, 3510 Scotts Lane, for a women’s-only pole-dancing session.

Breast cancer often takes a devastating toll on the women who suffer from it and the session was intended to help restore their sense of beauty and sensuality.

“I started a support group of cancer survivors and cancer supporters and this is the third event that I had and we have events on the third Tuesday of every month,” said Smith of West Philadelphia and founder of Traci’s Beautiful Inside and Out (BIO).

“When you go through cancer and all that you go through, you lose a little bit of the woman side of you. You lose your hair, your breasts nine times out of 10, your spirit gets broken down a little bit.”

Smith, herself a cancer survivor, knows firsthand the toll which breast cancer and subsequent treatment can have on both the body and psyche of the women diagnosed with the disease.

“It was really important for us to get that back and really be in sort of life,” she said.

While pole dancing is seen in one way to others, for woman battling breast cancer and faced with the challenge to their sexual identities, it takes on a whole new light.

“It [pole dancing] wasn’t sexual, it was a sensual way of expressing yourself and because so many of us fighting breast cancer have lost that part of ourselves due to cancer, I felt that it would be a great pick-me-up for those women that needed to have their spirits lifted.”

Not only did the ladies enjoy the session but Smith said that she also benefited from it as well.

“For me, I lost my breast through this whole process and so I had to find my center again, I had to find out what made Traci again so I thought it was just a great exercise for us,” Smith said.

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