Today I worked at the reception desk during Jocelyn’s Fight Cancer with Your Fork: The Breast Cancer Edition today. As I sat listening to Jocelyn, I got to thinking about how breast cancer affects all of our lives.
Breast cancer is a disease that has affected so many people I know, and so many people can say the same thing. One of my mom’s best friends is still recovering from reconstructive surgery after her double mastectomy. A dear friend of mine has a grandmother who was taken by breast cancer. The most important personal example I have is my best friend, whose grandmother died from the disease. She also watched her mother undergo treatment, and thankfully survive, when she was only 9 and 10 years old.
Her greatest fear in life is to get breast cancer. I know this all to well because in what was possibly one of her least dignified moments (a rather horrifying senior year of high school night of debauchery as documented so well in so many trashy movies), she screamed and sobbed at me, the trusty designated driver. As I held her in my arms (having secured a large pot nearby in case anything but words came pouring out of her mouth), I repeated, “No, you won’t get breast cancer. Just think of the advances in medicine they’ll have!.” Of course, I had no way of guaranteeing any of that. But I can hope that the support that this cause has accrued and the huge amount of attention it gets can result in something – research, treatments, and maybe someday a cure.
Does that make it more important than other cancers or diseases? Of course not. But there are so many faces, for all of us, that we can put to this disease. Breast cancer can touch our mothers, our sisters, our friends, that neighbor who doesn’t work in her garden, and women we work with. When I think of the fight against breast cancer, I think of the women who have already fought and survived. I think of their struggles with a disease that is capable not only of taking our lives, but of taking a part of us that we see as a defining feature of being a woman. I think of my best friend as a little girl, and all the little girls like her, who watched as her mother went through hell to survive for her. I think of her now, as a 22 year old, waiting for the inevitable diagnosis that she (and I) hope never comes.
For these women, I ask that we all do something to help. It doesn’t have to be much. I certainly won’t be making any million dollar donations any time soon. Walk in your local Race for the Cure, donate as much as you can to one of the fine research organizations out there (such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation or Susan G. Komen for the Cure), or pass on any information, like nutrition facts from Jocelyn, you might hear about prevention to a friend. Do it now so that hopefully someday no one else will have to.
Finally – good luck to our clients Kristin Larkin and Zoe Williams, who will be walking 39 miles in two days in the San Francisco Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!