Madeline Hayes, Lulu Johnson, Neda Soderqvist, and Lynn De Logi joined Cohn for the photo.


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It’s a striking photo.

Mindy Cohn and four friends stand topless in a pool, their hands covering their breasts. It’s a nod to Breast Cancer Awareness Month — and also an acknowledgement that Cohn herself waged a five-year battle against the disease.

The women — Madeline Hayes, Lulu Johnson (Betsey Johnson’s daughter), Neda Soderqvist and Lynn De Logi — come from different walks of life but were part of Cohn’s “gaggle of girls” who were always present during Cohn’s health crisis.


For Cohn, 51, the picture is a reminder of her blessings in life. “I have so many friends who supported me during the siege,” she tells PEOPLE. “They’re people who I consider my family by choice. They were always there for me.”

Cohn is sure to acknowledge that her parents were also there for her. “They’re still alive and kicking, and I love them so much,” she says. “They’d do anything for me, and I’m just so fortunate to have them. And then I also have other people who were with me when I needed them.”

Lately, she has started working with her friend and celebrity trainer Neda Soderqvist, who developed JAM — short for Juicy Athletic Moves — a fitness program that incorporates dance, pilates and strength training. (We’ve got to say, Cohn has moves. See the above video.)

Cohn previously told PEOPLE about recovering at the Sharon Springs, New York, home of her friends Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, lifestyle gurus, best known for their reality show The Fabulous Beekman Boys.

“I’m not married,” she acknowledges, “I don’t have a husband — and for the record, I’d be happy to find a husband — but I’m not alone. I’ve got so many people who I love to spend time with. I can be strong for them, and I can ask them for help when I need it. I am almost overwhelmed with how many people I’ve got in my life.”


So who are the friends who stand out as being supportive?

“Oh my God, there are so many to list,” she says. “Obviously, Helen Hunt was there for me — I texted her when I couldn’t take another step. Definitely Kim [Fields], who is my soul sister. Lauren Sill, Michael Patrick King, Jenny Bicks. So many people stepped up for me.”

For Cohn, having the cancer made it clear that she has friends in her life for the long haul. “Having cancer was horrible, and I lived in a lot of sadness for a lot of the time,” she says. “But the people in my life helped me through it, and I’ll always be grateful.”

For more about Cohn’s battle, pick up the latest copy of PEOPLE, on stands now.

This Story Originally Appeared On People