Good health: Hold on with warrior woman, Danielle Bitton
|Who: Danielle Bitton- singer, DJ, breast cancer warrior, writer, inspirer and an unshakable optimist actress What: Single, Hold On  Where: Digital platforms|
Warrior woman, Danielle Bitton recently released her single, Hold On and is celebrating November 2020 with a mammogram giveaway for four of her fans.
Bitton describes herself as a “singer, actress, DJ, breast cancer warrior, writer, inspirer and an unshakable optimist…”
Danielle Bitton is a warrior and huge inspiration and that is evidenced in the extraordinary photo – the featured image on this post, by photographer, Ally Nicole [November 2020] who is based between Johannesburg and Dubai. Using an eyeliner pencil, Nicole drew the words on Danielle Bitton’s chest: “Warrior, brave, empowered, fearless, courage, beautiful, faith, self-love, survivor, strength, free, life, imperfect, vulnerability.” Each word was placed with care as they went along and considered: ‘Brave’ in a straight line; ‘imperfect’ curved. In the photo, we see the scars and stitching from Bitton’s double mastectomy. She currently has expanders in her chest cavities – to prepare her body for reconstructive surgery on November 25. The process involves filling the skin with saline, to strengthen the skin which has become tight from having the breasts removed – and the loss of tissue, fat etc. It is a painful process. Bitton: “Having expanders inserted, you get referred back pain but it’s worth it and necessary.”
The words on her chest read like a poem and is an affirmation and expression of gratitude that she has arrived at this point, elevated her and enabled her to share song and light through her now famed lockdown balcony concerts in Sea Point, which were streamed live on her Facebook page. The balcony concerts are archived on YouTube. The Ally Nicole photo is an image which speaks to me of recognition of time; recognition of reality (cancer, double mastectomy) but it is also a very affirming image because of Bitton’s stance, her direct gaze at the viewer; the words that she has chosen to write on her skin. It says –“look here I am. This is me now but my journey continues. I am fearless and watch out for what comes next.” There is a sense of presence and ownership of those scars but also creativity and the sense that she is preparing her body and mind for its next transition. Physically she went through loss of her breasts and has had to deal with that but in doing so she has been on an emotional journey which has been hugely empowering in terms of acceptance, self-love and awareness. As a performing artist, her former existence hinged on how she ‘looked’ but her journey with breast cancer has shifted her perspective – and brought her to a place where her mind and body is in harmony. The scars and ruptures are part of who she is as a person.
This photograph is emblematic of Danielle Bitton’s journey from being presented with a cancer diagnosis in December 2019, while touring with Evita the musical in China. Back home in South Africa in January, she had a double mastectomy. Chemo started on March 3 2020. The National Lockdown clicked in on March 26. Undeterred, Bitton drove to her appointments. As per lockdown, she went into the chemo ward alone. It was there that she met quirky and funky people who inspired her and gave her hope that it was do-able. Five months of chemo and she was done and that was followed by radiation which finished on September 7. With no detection of cancer, she is on track for breast reconstruction surgery on November 25, 2020.
Covid and 2020 has been a year which has taken Bitton on a journey of fighting for her life. The mantra of classic cognitive therapy is that although we cannot control what happens to us, we can choose how we respond. That is easier said than done. Many people have fallen into a black hole during Covid. Bitton found the strength, resilience and creativity to not only face her illness and horrible treatment with grace and optimism but she also took her positivity into her neighbourhood in Sea Point.
Bitton lives in an apartment in Sea Point. She was inspired by the sessions in Europe, particularly in Italy, with people going onto their balconies and clapping and banging pots, to thank the essential workers. Bitton: “I thought it would be fun to do a song on the balcony. I sang a song and people loved it.” The 2nd night was magical. It was misty and mist is good for sound as it cushions the sound. Her neighbour rigged up sound. Bitton did free concerts- beamed out on her Facebook page and on Instagram. Then she invited people to donate and she donated part of the proceeds to a beneficiary, Reach for Recovery. She did about five balcony concerts. For me, hearing and watching Danielle Bitton sing Somewhere over the Rainbow, on her balcony, is one of my most potent memories of hard lockdown. We live in a suburb, cut off from the city. We could not hear the clanking and hooting in appreciating of the essential workers. And there was this amazing woman, going through chemo, bald and beautiful, dressed in red with fabulous earrings; singing this beautiful song. The city was there – lights blazing. Locked in city dwellers were able to experience live performance from their balconies in a time when theatres had gone dark. To top that, they were treated with concerts by an acclaimed musical theatre performer. The live feed on April 10 on Bitton’s Facebook page got something like 80 thousand views. All the concerts are archived on YouTube
Recently Bitton released a single, Hold On. It is a song that she wrote when she was 16 and which expresses exactly where she is right now with stirring lyrics like “I had a feeling I would break through all my fears, gotta be bold…gotta be brave…” She IS brave, bold and beautiful. The single is available to purchase on digital platforms. Scroll down for links, below.
As for the year ahead – 2021- Bitton will be pursuing her creative interests as a singer, actress and DJ- as far as Covid allows. She will be doing motivational talks – urging women to be self aware about their bodies and be vigilant about breast health. She is passionate about creating awareness around early detection and prevention of breast cancer which is why she is delighted that Morton & Partners approached her to partner with them and offer four mammograms as prizes. These are prizes that may save lives.
To enter, go to Danielle Bitton’s Facebook page or Instagram page and follow the instructions. Bitton was alerted to her cancer, when during a moment of intimacy, her partner felt a lump and urged her to get it checked out immediately in China. She did and that led her to further investigation back home in South Africa and a double mastectomy. She subsequently went through genetic testing and found that she is positive for the BRCA gene which posits a higher chance of getting breast and cervical cancer. Angelia Jolie has that gene.
Bitton’s cancer announced itself by a lump. Not every malignancy will manifest as a lump but may show up on a mammogram. Bitton had not had a mammogram as she was only 35 – which is commonly accepted as a ‘low risk’ age group. Well, breast cancer came her way and it turned out that she was genetically at risk. It is complex territory- assessing who is at risk. The bottom line: Many women would like to have routine mammograms but cannot afford to go that route. Bitton is thrilled to be heading up this competition which will gift four mammos to four women who would like to undergo high tech screening with reputable company, Morton & Co.
Danielle Bitton on social media:
❇ Website: https://www.daniellebitton.com/
❇ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daniellebittonmusic/
❇ Instagram: @daniellebitton1 @dj_dani.b
❇ Twitter: @daniellebitton1
|GIVEAWAY! Win a FREE MAMMOGRAM sponsored by Morton & Partners Radiologists (Cape Town). Entries close Friday November 13, 2020 at 5pm.|
Enter on Danielle Bitton’s instagram page or facebook page and follow the instructions.
✅ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daniellebittonmusic/
✅ Instagram: @daniellebitton1
There will be four lucky winners
The four hampers include:
1 x Free Mammogram
1 x Morton & Partners Buff, Notepad & Water bottle
1 x R200 @sorbetgroup Voucher
1 x @iloveboobies_za Pair of Socks
1 x @lindtsa treat box
Please note you must live in Cape Town or able to travel to Cape Town, at your own expense to have the mammogram. For more about Morton & Partners Radiologists, see website https://morton.co.za/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mortonandpartners/
To buy or stream Danielle Bitton’s song, Hold On:
https://youtu.be/yVTMpHknwe0 [free to view]
❇ Image credit. Featured image of Danielle Bitton by Ally Nicole.