When my aunt revealed that she had breast cancer, it sent a chill through the family. I looked down at my own triple D boobs and cringed. I remember gazing at my mother thinking, what if it were you? I couldn’t fathom the thought. Suddenly, my cousins crossed my mind too –after all, it was their mother with the devil of a disease. They had to be devastated. Tears began welling up in my eyes. My aunt is the First Lady of a church in our town and for some reason I thought she was exempt from these type of things. How could someone so close to God get breast cancer? I later realized, it was God who brought her through the disease.
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The diagnosis is still an emotional topic. The family doesn’t bring it up — like Lord Voldermordt’s name in “Harry Potter” — and it’s easy not to because my aunt has always been one of the strongest family members. Even with one of her breasts slightly uneven, she struts through church in her glamorous hat and shoes like she hasn’t missed a beat. She smiles the same, her hair is longer, her skin is radiant.
But my mother was extremely affected by it. That year, she insisted we all participate in the Breast Cancer Walk in our town. I missed it. I didn’t realize how important it was, but I vowed to make it next time. I kept my promise. And, since my first trek amongst the pink fighters, I make it my business to walk every year because the annual Breast Cancer Walk raises money and awareness towards finding a cure for breast cancer. A cure so people like my aunt can continue to live strong and healthy lives.
At last year’s breast cancer walk, we made our first banner with pink glitter. My sister and I spent all night, burning ourselves with a hot glue gun as we made ribbons for our team. Even my pug (who eventually needed a rest) donned a pink scarf as she trotted beside us grabbing the attention of survivors, volunteers and donators.
The American Cancer Society helps save more than 400 lives a day by investing more in research to find, prevent, treat, and cure cancer than any other non-governmental organization.
They also provide:
- Transportation to and from treatment, free lodging for those having to travel for treatment,
- Workshops that teach beauty techniques to female cancer patients to help deal with appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.
- Emotional support programs that connect newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with survivors.
With every step and donation, you contribute towards finding a cure. If you want to donate to my mom’s team, click here. Or click to find a walk in your local town to support: Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (an American Cancer Society arm) and Avon Walk For Breast Cancer are all three leading organizations that will hold walks and events all over the country this Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, and they need our support.
There are women just like us who will get breast cancer — about 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime — and we need our help and support. The encouraging news is there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. We can help fight this, even if it is one step at a time.
Share your breast cancer walk photos and stories with us this month on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #WhyIWalk.