Identical Twin Sisters Fundraise for Breast Cancer With Twins for Tatas Event

Writer / Natalie Gargiulo
Photography Provided

In a powerful display of resilience and determination, identical twin sisters Norma Unser and Liz Childers, who both battled breast cancer, are now on a mission to shed light on life after a diagnosis and the decisions women face.

Their remarkable story of courage and sisterhood emerged as the twins were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 and 2020, after defyingTwins for Tatas the odds by testing negative for the BRCA gene mutation. People who test positive for a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have a higher-than-average risk of developing breast cancer.

“I was tested in 2012 and didn’t have the BRCA gene,” Unser says. “My twin sister thought we were safe because I was negative for the gene until she did a self-exam and found a lump. She was immediately diagnosed with breast cancer and found out later that she also didn’t have the gene.”

Both sisters witnessed their own mother’s battle with breast cancer, which ultimately claimed her life in 2004.

Determined to make a difference and raise awareness, the then-43-year-old twins organized a heartfelt fundraiser, affectionately named Twins for Tatas, held at the Lily & Sparrow boutique in Carmel in 2021.

The event dedicated 20% of its sales to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a renowned breast cancer advocacy organization.

“The boutiques Lily & Sparrow and Uplift are true influencers for breast cancer awareness,” Childers says. “Their willingness to make a donation makes our events possible.”

At the heart of this event was a paper wall that the sisters tagged as the “what we wish we knew” wall.

“There are so many things I wish me and Liz had known that no one talks about,” Unser says. “I didn’t know what I would go through after choosing to get breast implants after my mastectomy, or what the recovery after the mastectomy would really look like.”

The wall gave a platform for the twins to share what they wish they had known before their own breast cancer diagnoses, highlighting the importance of knowledge and aiming to guide and support those who, like them, have faced the unexpected reality of breast cancer.

The Twins for Tatas fundraiser has since evolved into an annual event. The most recent event was held this fall, focusing on the decision women face to get breast implants after a mastectomy.

“I ended up having nine surgeries due to infections and my sister had seven,” Unser says. “I started wondering why no one tells you this after diagnosis.”Twins for Tatas

Unser says she hopes this initiative continues to inspire and educate women about what happens after a breast cancer diagnosis, focusing on life after treatment as well as educating women on implants.

“I feel like women are not given the information they need to make the decision for implants,” she says. “Women need to be told what they are actually going to go through and experience.”

By sharing their own experiences, Norma and Liz recently paired up with Lissa Sears, founder of Flat Out Love, an organization that encourages women to love themselves without implants.

“The mission for Twins for Tatas is, after women have been diagnosed, to educate them on what actually happens after a double mastectomy and what it means to get implants,” Unser says. “I want to do something good with this newfound platform.”

Twins for Tatas serves as a reminder that the fight against breast cancer goes beyond the diagnosis. It encompasses a journey of hope, resilience, and the invaluable lessons learned by survivors.

Norma and Liz have several more events planned in the future, to continue their mission of supporting and educating women. The twins are both cancer free.

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