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for every tear, there are 10 smiles

Filed in: Personal

The phone rang.

She excused herself around the corner of a building in downtown Denver, then mid-conversation with her doctor, she emerged to look at me and shake her head.

Moments later, she walked to me, head hanging, eyes hollow.

She collapsed into my arms. I felt her body weaken instantly as I held her up – every ounce of her. It’s all I could do. Because she had just been broken…by cancer.


This 26-year-old spirited woman that I had met just a few months prior just received the worst news she had ever been delivered. and life changed in an instant.

“i’m so sorry, but it’s malignant,” the doctor told her.

in the days to come, i watched kristina as she learned more about her breast cancer and her treatment plans. day in and day out, i saw this strong woman as she dealt with the unimaginable.

there were tears, there were moments of fear, anxiety, sadness, and pure devastation.

but kristina’s journey through cancer has not been defined by these moments.

you see, kristina is no normal woman.

she is fighting this disease with grace. 

with pride.

with faith.

with inspiration. 

and for every tear, there are 10 smiles that emerge from this amazing woman.

kristina has completed her first chemotherapy treatment, and just as the doctors predicted, her hair began to fall out … and quickly.

it can seem so superficial. it’s just hair, right? 

except it’s not.

it’s seeing sickness in the mirror every time you look. it’s strangers asking questions, and giving looks. it’s not looking like yourself anymore. it’s the constant reminder that you are dealing with something much bigger than yourself.

in true kristina fashion, friends and family gathered at a head-shaving party to bid her hair adieu. friends and family joined together with drinks in hand and as they both laughed and cried, the clippers hit kristina’s hair.

she cried. she laughed. and she mohawk-ed.

all in true kristina fashion. 

(to read more about kristina’s journey in her own words, check out her blog.)

below are some of my favorite images from kristina’s head-shaving party.






comments +

  1. gina says:

    ah this is such a touching post!! holding back the tears!!! beautifully captured!!

  2. Cheryl Kreuger says:

    What an awesome group of friends…you are beautiful with or without hair…look on the brighter side..with each hair lost you are bidding farewell to Cancer and as it starts its regrowth you are the new cancer free Kristina. ..emerging stronger, wiser and just as beautiful. . Keeping you in our prayers! !!!

  3. Lauren Trotter says:

    Such an inspiration! I don’t know you, Kristina but I can tell you’re a very strong woman!! Kick cancer’s ass!! You’re beautiful!!

  4. Anna Hays says:

    What a beautiful tribute to have that many friends around you. My sister had to do this and your story breakers my heart as I think of her and her short life. She was a fighter and fought it for 20 years before it got her. So rock on, girl. Give it your best fight ever and talk to you in 20 years. Love you.Anna

  5. Todd Laurie says:

    Kristina, you are an inspiration, you are wonderful, and most importantly, YOU ARE ALIVE!!! 🙂 In every way, you are alive dear woman.

  6. Judy Walton says:

    So special!!

  7. Brittany Lee Barnhill says:

    Kristina I love you! You are so beautiful inside and out!!!

  8. Tara says:

    and I’m crying. She’s a very beautiful woman.

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