We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Dials and Stefanie LeJeunesse of the podcast Cancer for Breakfast and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy and Stefanie, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
You know how they say “necessity is the mother of invention?” Well, we were each diagnosed with breast cancer at 39, and we craved smart, relatable, comforting conversation about this terrifying, life changing experience. Unfortunately, cancer conversations on the whole tend to be saccharine and unhelpful or dry and sciencey. When a mutual friend introduced us, we realized we’d both been searching for the same resource, but had struck out. It took us about 24 hours of constant texting—that amazing new friend energy—to start talking about creating something together, and it was only natural for a writer and a former radio DJ to settle on a podcast. We each had all the equipment we needed, and we started immediately. Our first episode was the first time we’d heard each other’s voices!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
We’ve both had so many jobs that prepared us for working as podcasters. Amy’s worked in radio, booked bands and DJs, and was an event planner, and Stef has been a writer and activist, and worked in the non-profit world. When you break these jobs down, they’re all mostly about creative ways to build community.
We’ve had to learn on the fly and be flexible while staying true to our creative ideals. We are so proud of the community we’ve built through the podcast, and every time we get a message from a listener saying we’ve kept them company in the chemo chair, and they felt as though they were hanging out with friends?
That’s everything. It’s also what sets us apart from other cancer resources. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we also don’t shy away from the tough conversations, and we’re naturally curious people, so we keep our audience up to date on advances in oncology and cancer research. We’ve had an opportunity to really crystallize our priorities—a cancer diagnosis does that for you—and focusing on making something accessible and meaningful for other cancer people has been super rewarding. It can also be challenging to devote so much time to thinking about cancer, particularly when you’re trying to recover from it (as Amy is), or when you’re looking at the word ‘incurable’ (as Stef is). For us, though, the challenge is worth the relationships with our listeners.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I (Stef) grew up in San Diego, visiting LA on the weekends pretending I didn’t have stars in my eyes, so lots of my favorites are old timers: Canter’s for knishes, Casa Bianca for pizza, Hollywood in Miniature, fabric shopping at Michael Levine, book shopping at Book Soup. I also love some relatively newer additions like Secret Headquarters for indie comics, Nooworks for wild jumpsuits and Apollonia’s for more pizza. I also always visit the Central Library. Just being in the building fills me up.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Eden Dawn of Claws Out nail polish. Eden threw Claws Out’s support behind us when we were just getting started, creating a polish color (F* Cancer) that benefits our podcast and helps us build our community of cancer survivors.
Roosevelvet Designs, Amy and Stef