The following is a personal story from Judy, an ambassador of MyBCTeam, the social network for women facing breast cancer. Below she shares several of the breast cancer awareness events that mean something to her and why. If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, go to http://www.MyBCTeam.com and connect with other women who ‘get it.’ Thousands of women from all over the country are here to share not only their stories, but their daily lives: the good days and bad days of living with breast cancer.
For me, breast cancer awareness month starts with the NEPA Race For The Cure. My oldest daughter, my grandchildren and I have looked forward to this event for the past four years and hope to continue this tradition for many years to come. Next, we attended the annual turning the fountain pink at my state capitol building in support of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition. This acts as a daily reminder to my state government the importance of finding a cure and that the state plays a big part in securing funding for breast cancer research and passing legislation that contributes to the cause. The coalition was founded by a woman, who is a force to be reckoned with and, you guessed it; she is a breast cancer survivor! Celebrating the coalition’s 20th anniversary, I am reminded that there is power in ONE. The coalition’s annual conference is a mixture of sharing and education, with this year being no exception. My next adventure included the honor of being the guest speaker at the First Annual Pink Light Walk in my neighboring community.
When all the activities and events surround me each “Pinktober,” I am re-energized knowing this is my opportunity to share. Sharing my story, while emphasizing the importance of screening, is my way of giving back. With each passing year, I make new friends, but the highlight to these experiences is time spent revisiting with old friends. Breast cancer has, many times, taken me outside of my comfort zone. But looking into the crowd of the familiar faces as I speak at the First Annual Pink Light Walk, I find my refuge in those who share the passion of advocacy. Passion is something I have gained in spite of all the losses I may have suffered because of breast cancer.
The old saying, “It takes a village,” can be applied to many things in life because, fortunately, we are not alone. Each year I purchase embroidered pink ribbon stickers to hand out to all my co-workers who proudly sport them all month long. Every day this small token warms my heart as a reminder of their relentless support of me. They know they can ask me anything about my health, diagnosis or treatments and share their own feelings and fears without hesitation. For this, I am both very humbled and proud. The passion to encourage, and to be encouraged is what breast cancer awareness month means to me.
To top off this month of advocacy, a surprise interview by a local news station celebrity made our celebration extra special this year when my five excited grandchildren got their 15 seconds of fame! While this year marks my five-year anniversary of SURVIVORSHIP, I reflect on what I have accomplished and how much more I want to accomplish. I will continue to make the most of breast cancer awareness by expressing hope, courage and strength throughout the entire year. It also means it is my turn to rejoice in the news that my appointments will be further apart therefore, less frequent. Life is TRULY a gift!