Gearing up for breast cancer awareness month

Every year in October we focus on breast cancer awareness as a national event.

I think about it more often than just one month out of the year.

Breast cancer is the second-highest cause of cancer deaths in women, including one of the most special women I knew, my sister-in-law Alison.

She almost made it to her 37th birthday. Almost.

I can’t help but be amazed by her courage and strength as she battled her killer for years before it finally took her life.

I guess I think about her more in October because it is breast cancer awareness month. But it is also the month of her birth – and death.

Alison would have turned 40 this year. And she would have loved it. Especially if she could see her boys now, both fine young men. Her life was centered around her family, and she was the center of theirs.

She was always quick to play a prank on someone or get everyone laughing with her wit and humor. Her death left a big hole in many of our lives.

This morning for our editorial meeting we had a doctor come in to talk about breast cancer awareness and the pathetic report issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which basically told women not to get mammograms and not to do self-exams.

OK, that’s not exactly what they said, but that’s how it is interpreted by many women looking for an excuse not to take care of themselves. It’s not really all that helpful, so why bother doing it.

The doctor agreed. The report is hogwash and she is not buying it either.

I later had lunch with a colleague at206 Front, where we shared heartwarming stories about breast cancer survivors and local heroes who help other people through charitable works.

Two of the sweetest stories are about these two children – brother and sister – who started their own fundraising campaigns. One raises money to help local children at area schools by providing discretionary funds to teachers. The other raises money to drill and build much-needed water wells in Africa.

While I mourn the loss of a family member and friend, I celebrate the love and life that surrounds me. And I will continue to reach out to local breast cancer groups to help women here fight the good fight.

As one survivor says, “Pink positive.”

Click here to read another column I wrote about breast cancer awareness.

* Pink ribbon courtesy of http://www.carolsutton.net.

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