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Michael Barnes

Holley Kitchen’s metastatic breast cancer video embraced by tens of millions

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Holley Kitchen of Cedar Park is a self-described “cancer lifer.”

At age 39, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Kitchen underwent a double mastectomy and months of chemo, radiation and hormonal therapy. The cancer returned in 2013 to her spine and bones. To educate others about Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, she posted a simple video on her Facebook page. To a recording of Rachel Platten‘s “Fight Song,” the mother of two rhythmically raises notecards with short facts and opinions about her own fight and those of others like her. Her unaffected facial expressions — she doesn’t speak — bring home each point.

At this writing, the video has attracted more than 48 million views on Facebook — and more elsewhere through YouTube and other media. (I’ve linked to the YouTube version because it was easier to embed in Word Press.)

Holley Kitchen with her two sons.

Holley Kitchen with her two sons.

In the past few days, Kitchen has received thousands of personal messages. She has appeared on local and national television shows. How is the video awareness campaign progressing? “We are ready to blow statistics out of the water!” she says.

Her social media presence has since moved to a new Facebook page: “Holley Kitchen: and the Cancer Lifers.”

Holley Kitchen in her fierce Art Bra Austin costume, makeup and styling.

Holley Kitchen in her fierce Art Bra Austin costume, makeup and styling.

June 6, Kitchen had walked — or rather, stalked — the runway at Austin Music Hall as a survivor/model for Art Bra Austin, which benefits Breast Cancer Resource Center. Dressed as a sort of Amazonian warrior with breastplates, lace-up, high-heeled boots and a fur cape, she was almost unrecognizable. Yet like the other models, she radiated confidence, even fierceness.

“Art Bra was empowering,” she shares. “I was wearing a bra designed specifically by my local jewelry designer — and longtime friend — Kendra Scott. It was amazing!”

Kitchen doesn’t know if she’ll make another video. She also isn’t sure about any future TV appearances. Her army of admirers, however, have reached out to Ellen Degeneres.

Kitchen: “I would love for this metastatic message to be shared on her show.”

Read more about Art Bra Austin in our preview story from a few weeks ago.