October is the month that everything, buildings, ribbons, lights, armbands, the decor at the malls, and all along the interstate turn the optimistic lively color pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Celebrating 25 Years of Awareness, Education, and Empowerment. Sydney and I have seen friends win the fight of breast cancer and sadly have lost amazing friends to this illness, even one human being losing their fight is too many.
Sydney began calling October,”Pinktober” in honor of all of those fighting a diagnoses, survivors, caregivers, family members, friends, sadly those who lost their fight and those who have lost loved ones. The color pink is optimistic, bright, full of love and hope. The pink color not only is the symbol of awareness, but to remind the nation and us as individuals that we have come far, but not far enough; nowhere near far enough.
I am dedicating this blog not only to the awareness, but to implore each of you to make a difference, if you know a woman who has yet to have a mammogram, use all your powers of persuasion (even if that means being a pest) to urge her to utilize mammography! Host a dinner, dessert party, bake sale, carwash, or what ever grand idea you have dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
Incase I have not clarified this entire blog will be PINK. The food will be if not all PINK mostly PINK. I optimistically believe the more pink we see the more aware we will become, hopefully that awareness will transpose everyone to make a difference.
I realize I am not the only person who has loved somebody diagnosed with breast cancer, but I can only write about my personal stories. I have known five women who have battled breast cancer, however I was only close to two of these women. Each are/were/ amazing and fought the disease with dignity, grace, and determination.
Sydney was five when a close friend (like a sister) and neighbor was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer, she had two young girls, the eldest was Sydney's age (they were inseparable) and the youngest was about three. Needless to say she was petrified, and all of her family lived out of the country, but she jumped in and fought the evil disease with the strength of 10 large robust men! In order to respect my friend's privacy, I will refer to her as “A”.
Since both daughters were at the same school, and the youngest just minutes from my house, I would drive all the girls to school in the morning and bring everyone back to my home in the afternoons. Marshmallows were a fun activity before starting dinner. Each child had an element they were responsible for; the two older girls watched the temperature of sugar syrup and the youngest helped whip the egg whites. For 30 minutes the girls could be stress free, and have fun. Food, especially sweets have a unique way of helping people deal with the roll coaster of life.
I remember one night we brought the girls home, “A” showed me she was beginning to lose her hair, instead of feeling pity for herself she asked me to help shave her head. I can honestly tell you she was even more beautiful bald. I still asked myself if I could have been that brave. She decided the most radically aggressive medical treatment was how she was going to fight back, a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and reconstruction surgery. As “A” put it she wanted to be able to see her girls grow into adulthood. That was twelve years ago and “A” is considered cancer free!
Five cookies represent five
women bonding together
to fight for life!
The other two women I recently met, both were diagnosed this past summer, within weeks of each other. I am not close to either of these women, to respect there privacy I will give limited information. They both decided to have chemotherapy. One of these woman will have reconstruction surgery, the other will most likely not live to see 2011. I hope against the doctors view that she beats the odds, but the last time I spoke with her, she was tired of fighting.
I have the upmost honor, respect, and admiration for all five women, every women who has/had battled breast cancer and the love ones who could only offer moral support. I am overwhelmed with statics one in eight women will be given the devastating news of breast cancer. Ask yourself do know someone with breast cancer or someone who had breast cancer, I venture the answer is yes. That needs to change. I hope and will continue to do what ever is needed so in the next generation there will be a cure!
** Pinktober” is a word my daughter, Sydney thought up 13 years ago ( when she was 5). The phrase put a smile on “A's” face, and everyone since!