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Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds Are Forever

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

October 1, 2019

BETC Paris and Against Breast Cancer turn a lock of hair into “The World’s Most Precious Stone.”

"It was important to show everyone that breast cancer doesn’t affect who you are. Patients and survivors need to feel close to their community, their family, and the ones they love."

Two months after giving birth to her daughter, Danielle Callaghan’s life was turned upside down: the 29-year-old was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Her doctors described her condition as “manageable, but not curable.” 

Her story is the same for millions of women around the world. One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer during her lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and is increasing particularly in developing countries, where the majority of cases are diagnosed in late stages. 

But Danielle, now 30, refuses to give up. With the help of BETC Paris and UK-based charity Against Breast Cancer, a lock of her hair has been turned into a diamond that carries a worldwide message of hope and helps raise money for research. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the diamond will be exhibited at the Centre for Cancer Immunology in Southampton, UK. 

“I wanted my hair to be useful, to be as precious to others as it was to me,” Callaghan said. “Just because I have breast cancer doesn’t mean I can’t stop fighting this disease. The World’s Most Precious Stone will embody my story, my life, and the funds it will raise will help others in their fight.” 

We chatted with BETC Paris Creative Director David Martin Angelus about sharing Danielle’s story.  

 

Tell us a little about “The World’s Most Precious Stone.” How did the project come together? 

I’ve been working on this project with one of my teams for a very long time. It started with the discovery of an interesting fact: that both diamonds and hair are made out of carbon. We then thought: “What if a cancer patient could turn the hair they were forced to cut off before chemotherapy into something beautiful like a diamond?” 

Since then, it’s been two years of hard work. Getting partners to help bring the idea to life wasn’t the hardest part. What was tough was delving deep into this terrible disease. Danielle’s fight against breast cancer is very real. One in eight women will develop this disease, and working with her has been very humbling. 

What was the insight that led to the creative?

Cancer patients are often portrayed just as victims, but they are also fighters. With this campaign, we wanted to give a breast cancer patient the opportunity to be the one to lead a campaign against the disease. We turned her pain into something beautiful and gave her a platform for people to hear her story. Danielle is a courageous woman, and making her diamond the most precious stone in the world is her way to help fight this disease. 

Danielle’s story is devastating, but her spirit is unbreakable. How important was it to make sure Danielle is depicted with strength and autonomy? 

I met Danielle through Against Breast Cancer. Danielle has a spirit that is unbreakable. She was diagnosed with incurable stage 4 breast cancer two months after giving birth to her baby girl. 

That’s a hard pill to swallow. But what’s important is that Danielle is living the time she has left to the fullest. She runs, boxes, spends time with her family. It’s hard, yes, but her message is important. Grab life by the horns and do what makes you happy for as much time as you have left. Thankfully there are new treatment options every year that can help extend patients’ lives.

How did she feel about becoming the focus of this campaign? 

Danielle is a badass. She wanted to do it. No questions asked. I’m sure she knew there would be some very tough moments, but she wanted to fight against this disease. To do something. She wanted to do it for herself, for all the women with breast cancer out there, and above all for her baby girl. She wants Joey to see that she never gave up.

Nearly all of the people who worked on the campaign are female. And everyone worked pro bono.

I absolutely love that this campaign was brought to life by so many women: the director, the jeweler, the association, the editor, the producer, etc. Breast cancer does affect some men, but it’s a disease that mostly affects women. That’s why it was so important for me to surround Danielle with strong, caring women who could understand her fight. I absolutely loved that Nina Aaldering, who directed the film, told Danielle that she would take off her clothes, too, to make her feel more comfortable when shooting topless. That really broke the ice. They laughed. They cried. That connection could only have taken place between two women. That’s why you feel that Danielle is so at ease throughout the film. 

Tell us a little about the process of turning a lock of her hair into a diamond? 

Hair and diamonds are made out of carbon. In nature, carbon is compressed and heated for millions of years at the center of the earth to make a diamond. Now labs and jewelers around the world have managed to recreate those natural conditions in a lab and turn a single lock of hair into a perfect diamond. 

What will happen to the diamond after Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 

The diamond will be exhibited at the Centre for Cancer Immunology in Southampton, UK, throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a symbol of every patient’s fight against breast cancer. We wanted to have the diamond somewhere symbolic in this fight as it gains value through everyone’s donations. After Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be giving the diamond to Danielle to pass on to her baby daughter. This way it will continue being the world’s most precious stone to Joey. 

How do you see this campaign building community among donors, survivors, and their family/friends? 

What’s beautiful about this campaign is that everyone can be a part of it: donors, patients, survivors, family, friends. It brings everyone together with the sole objective of making Danielle’s diamond the world’s most precious stone. A stone that can help save lives. 

It also portrays breast cancer patients in a different light. Danielle, like other patients with breast cancer, wants to be treated as usual. Just because they’re sick doesn’t mean they can’t run, laugh, dance, etc. It was important to show everyone that breast cancer doesn’t affect who you are. Patients and survivors need to feel close to their community, their family, and the ones they love. 

Aside from the film, how else are you sharing the message? How will you continue to share Danielle’s story? 

We have amplified Danielle’s story by creating all types of supporting content: print, OOH, newsletters, social media, video content from the jeweler and the association. 

What do you hope people watching will take away from this campaign? 

Everyone knows someone who’s had breast cancer. This disease has stolen mothers, sisters, and friends from us. Danielle is putting herself out there not to make us cry, but to make us act. I hope people connect with her story and donate to raise the diamond’s value. It’s up to us to make her diamond the world’s most precious stone.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Every donation raises the value of the diamond.

Visit www.mostpreciousdiamond.com to learn more about Danielle’s story and how you can help the fight against breast cancer.

"It was important to show everyone that breast cancer doesn’t affect who you are. Patients and survivors need to feel close to their community, their family, and the ones they love."

Two months after giving birth to her daughter, Danielle Callaghan’s life was turned upside down: the 29-year-old was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Her doctors described her condition as “manageable, but not curable.” 

Her story is the same for millions of women around the world. One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer during her lifetime. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and is increasing particularly in developing countries, where the majority of cases are diagnosed in late stages. 

But Danielle, now 30, refuses to give up. With the help of BETC Paris and UK-based charity Against Breast Cancer, a lock of her hair has been turned into a diamond that carries a worldwide message of hope and helps raise money for research. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the diamond will be exhibited at the Centre for Cancer Immunology in Southampton, UK. 

“I wanted my hair to be useful, to be as precious to others as it was to me,” Callaghan said. “Just because I have breast cancer doesn’t mean I can’t stop fighting this disease. The World’s Most Precious Stone will embody my story, my life, and the funds it will raise will help others in their fight.” 

We chatted with BETC Paris Creative Director David Martin Angelus about sharing Danielle’s story.  

 

Tell us a little about “The World’s Most Precious Stone.” How did the project come together? 

I’ve been working on this project with one of my teams for a very long time. It started with the discovery of an interesting fact: that both diamonds and hair are made out of carbon. We then thought: “What if a cancer patient could turn the hair they were forced to cut off before chemotherapy into something beautiful like a diamond?” 

Since then, it’s been two years of hard work. Getting partners to help bring the idea to life wasn’t the hardest part. What was tough was delving deep into this terrible disease. Danielle’s fight against breast cancer is very real. One in eight women will develop this disease, and working with her has been very humbling. 

What was the insight that led to the creative?

Cancer patients are often portrayed just as victims, but they are also fighters. With this campaign, we wanted to give a breast cancer patient the opportunity to be the one to lead a campaign against the disease. We turned her pain into something beautiful and gave her a platform for people to hear her story. Danielle is a courageous woman, and making her diamond the most precious stone in the world is her way to help fight this disease. 

Danielle’s story is devastating, but her spirit is unbreakable. How important was it to make sure Danielle is depicted with strength and autonomy? 

I met Danielle through Against Breast Cancer. Danielle has a spirit that is unbreakable. She was diagnosed with incurable stage 4 breast cancer two months after giving birth to her baby girl. 

That’s a hard pill to swallow. But what’s important is that Danielle is living the time she has left to the fullest. She runs, boxes, spends time with her family. It’s hard, yes, but her message is important. Grab life by the horns and do what makes you happy for as much time as you have left. Thankfully there are new treatment options every year that can help extend patients’ lives.

How did she feel about becoming the focus of this campaign? 

Danielle is a badass. She wanted to do it. No questions asked. I’m sure she knew there would be some very tough moments, but she wanted to fight against this disease. To do something. She wanted to do it for herself, for all the women with breast cancer out there, and above all for her baby girl. She wants Joey to see that she never gave up.

Nearly all of the people who worked on the campaign are female. And everyone worked pro bono.

I absolutely love that this campaign was brought to life by so many women: the director, the jeweler, the association, the editor, the producer, etc. Breast cancer does affect some men, but it’s a disease that mostly affects women. That’s why it was so important for me to surround Danielle with strong, caring women who could understand her fight. I absolutely loved that Nina Aaldering, who directed the film, told Danielle that she would take off her clothes, too, to make her feel more comfortable when shooting topless. That really broke the ice. They laughed. They cried. That connection could only have taken place between two women. That’s why you feel that Danielle is so at ease throughout the film. 

Tell us a little about the process of turning a lock of her hair into a diamond? 

Hair and diamonds are made out of carbon. In nature, carbon is compressed and heated for millions of years at the center of the earth to make a diamond. Now labs and jewelers around the world have managed to recreate those natural conditions in a lab and turn a single lock of hair into a perfect diamond. 

What will happen to the diamond after Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 

The diamond will be exhibited at the Centre for Cancer Immunology in Southampton, UK, throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a symbol of every patient’s fight against breast cancer. We wanted to have the diamond somewhere symbolic in this fight as it gains value through everyone’s donations. After Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be giving the diamond to Danielle to pass on to her baby daughter. This way it will continue being the world’s most precious stone to Joey. 

How do you see this campaign building community among donors, survivors, and their family/friends? 

What’s beautiful about this campaign is that everyone can be a part of it: donors, patients, survivors, family, friends. It brings everyone together with the sole objective of making Danielle’s diamond the world’s most precious stone. A stone that can help save lives. 

It also portrays breast cancer patients in a different light. Danielle, like other patients with breast cancer, wants to be treated as usual. Just because they’re sick doesn’t mean they can’t run, laugh, dance, etc. It was important to show everyone that breast cancer doesn’t affect who you are. Patients and survivors need to feel close to their community, their family, and the ones they love. 

Aside from the film, how else are you sharing the message? How will you continue to share Danielle’s story? 

We have amplified Danielle’s story by creating all types of supporting content: print, OOH, newsletters, social media, video content from the jeweler and the association. 

What do you hope people watching will take away from this campaign? 

Everyone knows someone who’s had breast cancer. This disease has stolen mothers, sisters, and friends from us. Danielle is putting herself out there not to make us cry, but to make us act. I hope people connect with her story and donate to raise the diamond’s value. It’s up to us to make her diamond the world’s most precious stone.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Every donation raises the value of the diamond.

Visit www.mostpreciousdiamond.com to learn more about Danielle’s story and how you can help the fight against breast cancer.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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