Atlantan Christine Strange is changing the mental health discussion through her new online platform and support network.
When Christine Strange got the news, she was at the gym, doing her regular workout while her son, Jake, played with one of the trainers. This was their routine, but this day in August was different. She got the call that everyone dreads. “Christine, my dear, you have breast cancer” came through the receiver. Upon arriving home and asking her son to play in his room, she got on her knees and prayed. “I remember saying, ‘Dear God, please let me live through this; I have so much more to do here,’” she says. And she did, beating cancer almost 10 years ago.
Today, Christine Strange is not only a breast cancer survivor, she is also a mental health advocate for people suffering from anxiety and depression like herself, a public speaker, a partner and planner of fundraising events for nonprofits of breast cancer and mental health organizations, a soon-to-be published author, a lifestyle influencer and entrepreneur, and a real supporter of all women. Her journey with breast cancer was full of anxiety, waiting, surgery, radiation and recovery, with her understanding that recovery comes twofold: You recover physically and the emotional wounds take years to fully heal. She came up with an outlet to theoretically “break” cancer’s mental wounds by shooting at clay targets, soon starting the Tickled Pink Shooting Club where members would participate in official target tournaments to raise money to provide women free mammograms. Through all of this and the club’s rise in popularity, she felt called to take her support and charity one step further, putting all her efforts under one umbrella and starting her lifestyle club, The Real Christine Strange (therealchristinestrange.com). “We are all surviving something and we all need each other,” she says.
The club is an online platform, support network and community for women (and men!) to discuss, question and release the many challenges they face today—breast cancer and mental health just being a catalyst. People dealing with anxiety, depression, aging, loss, empty nesting and surviving through a pandemic can find a home and a sounding board here. “Anxiety and depression are real and nothing to be embarrassed about. I want to stop the stigma. We don’t have to suck it up and hide,” she says. “A few years ago I couldn’t keep the secret anymore. Secrets hurt you more. So, I started speaking openly [about my struggles] on my social media sites and on podcasts as a guest speaker.” Being real is what her platform is all about, melting away the socially acceptable facade so that people can relate and realize that everyone is climbing their own mountain. “We don’t have to be Superwoman,” she says. “Take the cape off and fly free.” This and more will be discussed on her new podcast, Tickled Pink Positive Power, and in her upcoming children’s book.
Entering a new chapter in her life, Christine Strange is as busy as ever, learning to ride her new horse, Louis, and owning two restaurants with her husband, The Grand Marlins of Pensacola Beach and Panama City. “I am technically an ‘empty nester,’ but I don’t use that word as my nest is more full now than ever,” she says. “When your child leaves your home, you’ve done you job. Now [is the time] to write new chapters for you.” One of her favorite quotes that comes from the heart is the perfect way to describe this notion: “Enjoy this day… it is a gift. Unwrap it slowly, embrace it… you have it just once.”
Photography by: Leslie Andrews Photography