By Jenny Gaither

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve been approached by tons of people sharing personal stories about body image and their lack thereof. About their need for self-acceptance.  About their daughters' impossible fight for perfection without recognition that its really our imperfections that make us perfect.  But they’ve also shared with me how getting active and moving their bodies has given them strength they never knew they had. 

And that’s exactly why Dare To Bare is important to me.  Because it’s an opportunity to both literally and figuratively expose our own personal strengths. To use and move our bodies—to push our boundaries through dancing, jumping, riding, running and more—in an effort to learn to love our bodies.

But those are my reasons. You have your own reasons for why Dare to Bare is important to you.  Just yesterday, for example, I received this email from two close friends, Kristin Cummings and Lauren Raulerson, who are attending the event together:

Kristin’s Story: I have never considered myself overly-insecure about my body.  But recently, I underwent surgery to treat Ulcerative Colitis which left me with an ostomy and an external pouch.  Sadly, one of my biggest initial roadblocks was the physical stigma of the pouch.  How would I ever wear a bathing suit again? Would people think I was ugly?  Since other brave women weren’t afraid to share their stories through words and pictures online, I was able to work through my fears and feel comfortable with my “new” body.  So on Saturday, I will proudly exercise in my sports bra to help raise awareness for ostomies/IBD and contribute to ending the physical stigma and body image issues associated with it.  

Lauren’s Story:  I am so incredibly thrilled to be riding with Kristin this Saturday. While I have had my own insecure body image thoughts throughout the years, one of the main reasons I wanted to sign up for this on Saturday is because of Kristin’s journey over the past year.  Witnessing her strength and courage has been one of the most humbling and inspirational experiences of my life. It’s also made me believe even more strongly in the power of women inspiring other women to feel comfortable in their own skin and feel pride and ownership over their own bodies. 

As we go into Saturday, I implore you to ask yourself — what’s your reason?  And as you ride and dance and sweat with hundreds of other people, I encourage you to remember why you choose to move, then feel liberated as you uncover your best self.

Fundraising Update
With Dare to Bare, we’re raising funds that enable young women all over the country to start moving, to connect with their bodies and learn that they’re more than what meets the eye.  As of today, $131,091 has been raised.  Help us close the gap and reach $150,000, which translates to 10,000 people we can impact through financial grants for schools, non-profits and communities who could really use some movemeant