October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a nonprofit, we are super passionate about all causes that help people, and bringing awareness to/searching for a cure for breast cancer is one of the many causes that we care about.
I have a personal investment in seeing a cure for breast cancer because my Aunt Deb, who is one of my best friends in the entire world, is a two-time breast cancer survivor. Aunt Deb was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. With intensive treatment and removing the cancerous areas, she went in to remission for almost eight years.
In 2011, the breast cancer came back. I still remember the day she called to tell me. It broke my heart to know that this woman who I loved so much, and who had been through so much, had to face this monster of a disease…AGAIN. Are you kidding me? But cancer doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t say “Oh, you’ve had me once already? I won’t come back then.” Cancer just comes. And it is awful.
The good news is that Aunt Deb fought back and overcame this second bout of breast cancer, and she got a double mastectomy so that she wouldn’t have to worry about it coming back for a third time. She is one of the bravest, strongest women I know, and her fight against breast cancer is one to be admired.
In 2014, my family came together and ran in the Race for the Cure in April in honor of Aunt Deb and her fight against breast cancer. Here’s a picture of our family rocking our “We <3 Aunt Deb’s Boobs” shirts!
One of the things that Aunt Deb always tells me is that early detection is key. There’s some great information online about what you should do to check yourself or get checked out for cancer. Here’s a resource on cancer.org about early detection. If you’ve had one or more family members who’ve had breast cancer, you may be at a higher risk and should consider genetic testing to see if you have a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.
For Christmas this year, all my Aunt Deb wants from me is that I get the genetic test done. I think I can do at least that for her, and for every woman (and man) who’s ever fought the good fight against breast cancer.
To those of you who are fighting, keep going – you’ve got this! To those of you who have lost loved ones to breast cancer, my heart goes out to you. To everyone else – check yourself, get checked out, and do some research about breast cancer to educate yourself (like this great article from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.)
I encourage you to donate to organizations who are working to find a cure – every little bit matters, and one day, hopefully not far from today, we won’t lose anyone else to this terrible disease.