Diary of a Diva: Bike & Build and… The DivaCup

bike on raod

Biking across the US has been a dream of mine since high school. When a teacher I had brought in a photo album of him and his friend biking from Virginia to California, I was hooked. I had driven and taken the train across the US before, but I realized that I had missed all the places in between, which really makes the trip worthwhile.

Five years later, a college friend was talking about an organization called Bike & Build that raises funds and awareness for affordable housing through cross-country bike trips. After hearing this, I knew my dream was about to come true. Biking across the country would be wonderful, but being able to experience and, even better, contribute something to the communities along the way would be taking that dream to a whole other level.

bike and AnnamariaBike & Build is a non-profit organization which has raised over $4 million for affordable housing in the 10 seasons of its existence. Each summer, eight different groups take off across the country. Each of the eight routes (my route is from Providence, RI to San Francisco, CA) accepts about 30 young adult cyclists who must each raise $4,500 and volunteer beforehand (for at least 10 hours) at a local affordable housing organization (I’ve been helping out at a Habitat for Humanity site).

In the beginning of June, each group heads off on their separate routes. They ride between 40 – 120 miles each day. At each town, we give a presentation about some aspect of affordable housing, and sometimes we hold bike safety activities for the kids. For eight (non-consecutive) days of the ten weeks it will take to bike across the US, the groups will put aside their bikes and help build at an affordable housing site.

What constitutes as affordable housing?

buildingAffordable housing is defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as shelter that costs no more than 30 % of a household’s income, which is almost impossible to find in many places in the US. Some people think renting, instead of buying a house will fix this problem, but the amount of renters spending more than 30% of their household income on rent rose to 53% in 2010, up 3% from the number in 2008. In fact, a family with one full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a two bedroom apartment at the local fair-market rent anywhere in the United States. Many people are faced with a difficult decision: do they use more of their income on housing and end up with less to spend on necessities like food, or do they settle for housing that is comparatively cheaper but is old, filthy, and falling apart?

If we put more effort into our affordable housing organizations we can make sure no one will have to make this decision again.

You may be wondering, what does biking across the country for affordable housing have to do with The DivaCup?

Everything!

Biking for at least 5 hours a day for 10 weeks is hard on your perineum in the best of times, but during your period it can be incredible difficult. The guides Bike & Build sent us often mentions how very important it is to find a bike seat you are comfortable with.

Yet, somehow, they failed to mention what to during that “time of the month”.

I’ve always been a very active person and when I first started my period I only used pads. I would often sit out during pool days in gym and if I was biking or horseback riding I would often get diaper rash, which no one should have to deal with after you’re beyond the age of 3, maybe 4.

Then after high school when I became a lifeguard for about six months in Australia I figured I had to start using tampons which brought a whole new set of problems. I had to change them frequently, and somehow they always seemed to aggravate my cramps.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I stopped lifeguarding and started college that I found out about The DivaCup. After I got the hang of it, all my previous problems were solved. I really couldn’t believe it. Now, it doesn’t matter what activity I’m planning to do next because it’s almost as if my period doesn’t exist.

Cups in boxKnowing all about the wonders of a DivaCup and realizing that many women on my trip would not have one was a distressing thought. I immediately emailed The DivaCup to alert them of our problem and, true to their Canadian stereotype, they were very kind and very happy to help. Thanks to DivaCup, all the riders on my trip have the option of using a DivaCup, that is, the female riders on my trip,and we are all so grateful at the prospect of a comfortable ride all summer long!

For all those interested in contributing to my trip or following my progress and transcontinental journey, you can visit my blog!

Annamaria Viazzo

AnnamariaAnnamaria Viazzo attends Stony Brook University where she is majoring in biology and bio-engineering. In addition to being a dedicated Student Diva, Annamaria has many hobbies: skateboarding, surfing, mountain biking, and rock climbing are just a few of her many “likes”. Annamaria considers herself lucky to have the opportunity to be involved in her school’s intramural clubs; everything from the Equestrian team to their rugby team. If Stony Brook offered a minor in athletics, Annamaria would probably have enough credits for it by now.

 

 

 

Diva Education is…

Educating girls and women to make informed decisions about their period care!

Empowering girls and women with a better, eco-friendly and cost-saving period care solution to tampons and pads.

Encouraging girls and women to take an active role in caring for their menstrual cycle through cycle knowledge, menstrual education and charting options.

Equipping girls and women with the knowledge and tools they need to be proud of their bodies, their health and about being a woman.

Diva Education is helping to change the way women (and men) view period care and the menstrual cycle for good!

But we cannot achieve our goals without the support of health professionals and educators.

health practicioners-350pixIn the last few months we have been given the opportunity to share The DivaCup with thousands of health professionals and educators from both the United States and Canada. We’ve spoken to teachers, coaches, family physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and many more. Each conversation is filled with questions, excitement and acceptance. Many of the professionals we talk to are hearing about The DivaCup for the first time and are excited to try The DivaCup themselves or introduce it to their students, patients, daughter, sister, colleague or friend.

Although not the most popular subject in school, health class is mandatory and often an uncomfortable experience for both students and teachers. From our experience talking with health professionals “period talk” is one of the most common discussions that take place in these classrooms. Women are curious, concerned or confused about the day-to-day experiences of the menstrual cycle and answers and assurance is what we hope to offer them.

As a leader in the menstrual cup category, we are working to ensure health professionals and educators receive the knowledge, tools and support they need to make “period talk” better for young girls everywhere. We annually donate thousands of demo DivaCups and literature to schools, medical practitioners and organizations committed to improving women’s health across North America and Internationally.

Diva-101-ChalkboardBy introducing sustainable period care as an option, young women will be given the opportunity to decide for themselves what product is right for them. By partnering with health educators and cycle charting organizations and integrating these into classrooms settings, young women will be better prepared to care for their periods and overall health. And by assisting professionals with product and curriculum support, teachers will have the opportunity to introduce new and exciting information to the topic of menstrual health, creating a better learning experience overall.

In the coming months we will introduce a number of initiates including, classroom lesson plans, a college/university campus kit and a support portal for health professionals and educators on our website.

Does your school, doctor’s office or local pharmacy know about The DivaCup?

Share this post with them today or pass along our email (info@divacup.com) or Resource Request Order Form and we will ship out a Resource Kit to them today!

Diary of a Diva: The Fearless Athlete

Simone T - Gym 2What do you do when you slave endless hours to build the body worthy of a fitness competition stage and your period decides to pay you a visit minutes before you are about to step on stage for the very first time in a light colored bikini?

Well…first you panic!

Then you’re forced to improvise.

I came face to face with that very situation last summer, when I stepped on the coveted fitness competition stage for the first time in my life.

The week leading up to that day is a blur, but that morning will forever stand out in my mind because it was what led me to come across one of the greatest products I ever have come across as a woman.

With so many things to do that morning, getting my period was the last thing on my mind! Tanning, hair, make-up, suit, shoes, calming my nerves, nutrition and winning were at the top of the priority list for that day.

Add a little bit of positive thinking in the mix and everything was running smoothly, as planned and expected. I was competing alongside my good friend and now co-worker, both of us nervous about stepping on stage in front of a huge crowd.

I never shy away from a challenge and I always face my fears. My mind was going through each step of the process in a calculated manner… don’t trip going up the stairs, walk with confidence on that stage, smile, make eye contact with the crowd, don’t look down, and oh yeah…..breathe. My friend and I were supporting one another and reminding each other that we CAN do this, that we look great and that once we win, (not IF we win), we would celebrate together by going out for a fantastic dinner.

With just one hour to show time, as the MC was getting the crowd ready and my friend and I were standing backstage trying to keep each other calm by commenting on how great our tans looked, the unthinkable happened. I felt it. I KNEW it was it, it was undeniable.

My period had arrived.

Simone T - GymIf ever there was a “worst time” for it to come, this was that time. Sheer panic hit me. What do I do? I am about to step on stage in a few minutes.

Scrambling for a solution, a fellow competitor jumps to my aid, giving me a tampon. I ran to the washroom and emerged a couple of minutes later to make my way to the stage. All of a sudden, I now have a slew of things to worry about. The tampon was uncomfortable. Was I walking funny? Did anyone in the audience know? Is the string tucked away? What if it’s visible?

What if I ….

Pushing those thoughts out of my mind I got through the walking, the poses and the rest of the competition. As they announced my name and my friend’s as the winners of 2nd and 3rd place respectively we posed for the pictures that would forever freeze amazing moments of triumph in time. I forced a couple of smiles and ran to the bathroom to check on the “situation”.

All I wanted was to put on a pair of black pants to make sure no one knew that my period had arrived.

A couple of weeks later, while going about my business buying my vitamins from a health food store, I glanced over and saw The DivaCup. Catchy name, I think to myself. Intrigued, I pick it up to see what it is and what it does. As I read over the instructions on the box, it hit me.

Where was this godsend of a product the day of my competition?

I HAD to have it. I knew I would compete again and I knew that a product like this would eliminate any worry while on stage.

Well, was I ever right!

Not only did I step on stage (and win) again, and yes my period paid me THE VISIT again, but this time I was ready.

I had used The DivaCup enough times to know that it would not leave anything to chance, that it had me covered. The grueling training that I did leading up to my second competition, and continue to do on my journey to more competitions, was and is a necessity, and has to be done periods or no periods. To this day, I am thankful for coming across amazing products that make my life as a female athlete easier. Anything that allows me to participate in the sport I love with absolutely no worry about my period is a must have in my book. Gone are the ideas and “what ifs” of a mishap at that time of the month. Yes I have endured what I call disaster and mortifying moments taking place at the gym during that time of the month, but not anymore!

Where has this precious lifesaver been all my life?

The DivaCup would have given me so much freedom. Growing up from my first period until I became acquainted with the amazing little cup, I declined, skipped and missed countless events because of my period and no product to keep me 100% happy and worry free. Heck I even planned vacations around it because bikinis and periods just don’t mix unless you have 100% protection against accidents. Talk about having no freedom.

But I claimed freedom the day I bought The DivaCup. Now, I don’t leave town without it! In case my period decides to pay me an unexpected visit – which it’s made a habit of doing – I’m covered! And worry free.

Hello, DivaCup, good bye period worry.

Simone photo1Simone Tronciu

Having dedicated over 15 years to her passion for fitness, wellness and nutrition Simone fearlessly takes on new challenges, always wanting to learn something new. After facing a critical illness that nearly took her life, she devotes time to mentor, motivate, inspire and empower other women to start and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle by incorporating strength training, stress management and personal growth into their daily routine.