Marine's Topless Selfie Has People Talking for All the Right Reasons

Some selfies are frivolous, some are narcissistic and some are downright inappropriate. This one is important, selfless and downright brave.

Barbie Ritzco, who has served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, was diagnosed with Stage IIIB breast cancer in February 2011, four months after being deployed to Afghanistan, according to a blog post she wrote for The SCAR Project. That August, after chemotherapy, she underwent a bilateral mastectomy, followed by months of radiation. Not long after, she ran the Marine Corps marathon.

“I wanted to do something that I would feel… that I had did something that day besides making it through the day,” Ritzco says in the video below.

Then, in 2013, she got a heart-shaped tattoo on her chest and posted this picture to Facebook:


“Undergoing a mastectomy is a life-changing experience,” Ritzco, also known as “the Warrior Queen,” wrote on Facebook. “Sharing photos can help raise awareness about breast cancer and support the men and women facing a diagnosis.”

In mid-August 2014, “Flat & Fabulous,” a Facebook group Ritzco cofounded, reposted the selfie, asking its fans to keep Ritzco in their thoughts, as her cancer has returned.

“For Barbie, the vision of Flat & Fabulous was never to be a ‘cancer’ group,” the post reads. “She wanted a place to EMPOWER women who were living without reconstruction.”

In less than two weeks, the photo was shared more than 700 times.

According to a blog post on The Huffington Post, Ritzco wrote this message on “Beyond the Pink Moon,” a private Facebook group devoted to sharing news about breast and ovarian cancer:

I think of this as a detour on my journey. I am an innately positive person and nothing will ever change that, but now more than ever I need your support. I will be taking time to focus on my healing. Three years ago when I joined Beyond the Pink Moon, our founder Nicki, lovingly nicknamed me the Warrior Queen because I never give up. I never will.


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