MAKERS October: Finding Your Inner Strength

We're excited to announce that October's MAKERS theme is finding your inner strength. 

As October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we believe that MAKERS can join the dialogue by sharing the stories of our MAKERS and the incredible inner strength they have unearthed to overcome illness.

The line-up of MAKERS this month demonstrates how each woman has reached down to discover her inner strength to prevail over challenges she set her mind on defeating. When pushed to dig deep for it, you'll often find an amazing reservoir of resilience you've never accessed before.

In the photo gallery above, we highlight women who dealt with the frightening diagnosis of cancer but found the strength to overcome it and continue to tell their stories.


The first African-American actress to star in her own television series, Diahann Carroll had no family history of breast cancer and was caught by surprise when she was diagnosed at age 63. She underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatments and now, free of her cancer, has gone on to urge postmenopausal women to get tested. She served as ambassador and national spokeswoman for Lifetime Television's breast cancer awareness campaign in 1998-99. She also works for the City of Hope. Photo: Getty Images

Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 after discovering a lump on her breast while examining herself in the shower. After completing a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation following a lumpectomy, she performed bald during the 2005 Grammys.   Photo: Getty Image

Diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts in the summer of 2008, Christina Applegate chose to undergo a double mastectomy. She'd tested positive for the BRCA gene and believed the surgery would reduce the chance that the cancer would spread or return. Applegate went on to become a founder of Right Action for Women, a nonprofit that provides financial aid to women at high risk for breast cancer.   Photo: Getty Images

Star of Charlie's Angels, actress and former model Jaclyn Smith discovered a lump in one of her breasts during a routine checkup. A lumpectomy and radiation followed suit and because of the experience, Smith became active with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Photo: Getty Images

When Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts did a piece on her friend's battle with cancer and the importance of early cancer screening, Roberts performed a self breast exam and found a lump. While her first thoughts were "This can't be. I am a young, healthy woman," Roberts completed surgery and chemotherapy. In 2012, she left GMA as she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and underwent a bone marrow transplant. Roberts returned to GMA on February 20, 2013. Photo: Getty Images

Pop star Kylie Minogue decided to go for a second round of tests after she was given the "all clear." The results the second time around diagnosed Minogue with breast cancer. She immediately pulled out of her tour for treatment and chemotherapy, including a partial mastectomy. Since announcing her remission in 2006, Minogue has made a point to speak out about her misdiagnosis. Photo: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Nurse Jackie star Edie Falco was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, but kept the cancer almost completely secret as she continued to portray the infamous Carmela Soprano on the HBO hit show The Sopranos. For Falco, she kept her diagnosis a secret because she didn't want the pity. Photo: Getty images

At the height of her career, Sheryl Crow detected suspicious calcifications in both breasts on a routine mammogram. The finding came as shock since the Crow had been dedicated to health and fitness and had no family history of cancer. The singer-songwriter postponed her tour for surgery and treatment. She has since become the ultimate advocate for breast cancer prevention and routine mammograms. Photo: Getty Images

Sex and the Star Cynthia Nixon discovered her right breast had breast cancer during a routine mammogram. She treated the cancer with a lumpectomy and radiation. Although she wanted to remain quiet on the matter, Nixon eventually decided to share her story to serve as inspiration for other women at risk. Photo: Getty Images

Diem Brown’s battle with ovarian cancer was caught on camera while she was a cast member on MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat. Her experience as a patient led Diem to found the non-profit, MedGift, the first medical gift registry. Brown has now overcome cancer twice. After going into remission in 2006, the cancer resurfaced in 2011, and she has, happily, gone into remission again. Photo: Getty Images

Playwright and activist Eve Ensler, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues and for the creation of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. But in 2010, after ignoring increasingly obvious symptoms, she was diagnosed with Stage IIIB/Stage IV cancer, cancer that began as a tumor in her uterus and spread to her colon and rectum. After nine hours of surgery and treatment that lasted seven months, Ensler survived. On May 25, she celebrated her 60th birthday.  Photo: WireImage

Last year, Tig Notaro was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts and underwent a double mastectomy. A week later she went on stage in Los Angeles and did a now-legendary set about her string of misfortunes, which you can download here. Notaro recently answered questions for Rookie's series Ask A Grown Woman. It's funny and lovely all at once. She talks about being comfortable with her body following the double mastectomy.    Photo: WireImage

Kris Carr is a best-selling author, filmmaker, motivational speaker and wellness coach. After being diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage four cancer, Kris was inspired to promote better health through food and lifestyle changes. She is the author of the New York Times best seller, Crazy Sexy Diet, and the Creator and Director of the documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer. Kris is a Contributing Editor for Natural Health magazine and is the Founder of, an award-winning wellness site.