When someone supports a cause passionately, you always wonder why. How were they affected? Did they have the disease? Did they lose someone? People don’t usually ask, so I wanted to share why I have a passion for raising awareness for Breast Cancer.
I am not a survivor of Breast Cancer but I am a survivor. I lost my mom to Breast Cancer when I was 15 years old. Back then there were no therapy groups to attend; no walks to walk in; and no rallying of support like we see today. It was scary. My brother, sister, and I had to find our own way. We all took different paths to deal with the loss.
My path to dealing with my mom’s death was delayed until I was the age she was diagnosed. At age 35, I started walking in the Avon Breast Cancer walks. Every dollar I raised, every step I took, and everyone that I met along the way was part of my healing process, a way to grieve, and a way to give back. I walked in the next four Breast Cancer walks. I started in NYC, and then went to Chicago, Boston and back to NYC. I raised tons of money and met amazing women, all of whom had their own stories. I finally realized…I wasn’t alone.
This feeling of community empowered me to tell my story more often and to encourage women to get screened. I truly believe that every tragedy and every blessing in your life makes you who you are at this very moment. At this moment, I wouldn’t change a thing.
My mother died at the same age that I started my company. I always wonder… what would she have done if she had lived ten more years? What could she have done? She was a talented, smart, dynamic woman that touched my heart forever. I think she would be proud of me. That gives me the strength to keep going when things get really hard.
So, if I have anyone’s attention while I’m up on my soapbox, this is what I would say:
BE DIFFERENT. Don’t just write a check to someone who is raising awareness. Instead, look them right in the eye and say THANK YOU!
Do self-exams and get a mammogram yearly.
Thank a survivor for fighting the fight. Everyone who beats it…we are one step closer to finding a cure.
Be Grateful each day.
Live your life as if there is no tomorrow! (Within reason, of course!)
Live, Laugh, Love…Be the best you!