Yesterday marked day one of my 4th breast cancer awareness month as a breast cancer survivor. There’s a pink cast to the world, facebook profile pictures turn to pink ribbons and businesses everywhere are stepping up their support of breast cancer.
Brogan & Partners, my long time employer, has supported my journey every step of the way–participating in fundraisers, walking with me, creating my award winning Ta Ta Breast Cancer logo and just being there for me. I am honored and thrilled everyday to work for this company–the place I’ve called my home away from home for nearly 17 years.
But Marcie Brogan, once again, you’ve outdone yourself. For the next month, our building in downtown Birmingham will shine pink to honor survivors and remember those who’ve lost their life to this disease. If you’re in the area at night, drive by the historic peabody mansion and see for yourself. And thanks dad for capturing this great photo. Yes, I’m one lucky survivor.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the past month thinking about hereditary cancer issues. Last Friday, I spoke to the Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance about FORCE. And in between, I’ve had two FORCE outreach meetings. In speaking to the MCGA, I communicated my concern with the lack of awareness of both hereditary cancer and the importance of Genetics Counselors in the process. Through my interactions with many of them, I know that they have similar concerns. They had some nice suggestions of various groups within Michigan that may help me take on this issue. I talk to women everyday who don’t know they are at risk and don’t know what to do if they are at risk. Clearly I fit in the “didn’t know I was at risk” category. We’ve come along way through organizations like FORCE and Be Bright Pink but we still have a long way to go.
At my most recent FORCE meeting, I met a woman who’s sister was diagnosed with DCIS (stage 0 breast cancer). Prior to this diagnosis, she had no idea that she was a risk for a BRCA mutation. She tried to get genetic testing but her insurance company turned her down. 6 months later her sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and 1 year later is back with more cancer. Could this be avoided? This is just one of many stories I hear. How can we make sure that more women have the knowledge they need to ultimately avoid a cancer diagnosis? Do we need a specific week devoted to hereditary cancer awareness? I need your help, my readers, to make sure that we are able to inform, educate and spread the word. We are a small but mighty group and we can do this together. Post some comments and let me know how you think we can make an impact.
In my last post, I wrote that it had been a long interesting week. On Wednesday, just one day before the start of breast cancer awareness month, I had the opportunity to hear Nancy Brinker speak at the Mothers Daughters Sisters and Friends luncheon benefiting the Francee and Benson Ford Jr. Breast Care and Wellness Center at Henry Ford Hospital. Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Nancy Brinker has become one of my personal heros. 27 years ago, she promised her dying sister she would do everything she could to end breast cancer. And apparently when Nancy Brinker sets her mind on something, she doesn’t give up.
Hearing her speak gave me a sense of hope and filled an intense sadness I felt just one day earlier. Susan G. Komen is the organization that has funded the research to keep so many women alive. Susan G. Komen is the organization that changed breast cancer from a deep dark secret to an everyday conversation. And because of Susan G. Komen, during the month of October, we are surrounded by pink to honor and recognize those that continue to fight. I am proud to be involved with this organization and so happy I had the opportunity to hear Nancy in person. What a great way to head into October.
Thank you Nancy for inspiring us, leading us, and never settling for anything less than a world without breast cancer.
I’ve posted before about the importance of the EARLY Act. FORCE is submitting a wonderful letter showing their support and I urge you to add your name to the letter. Feel free to read the full letter or some of my other breast cancer posts on this topic to understand the importance of the EARLY Act. If you would like your name added to the letter, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and type EARLY in the subject line.
Thank you again for all your support!