My role model.
My best friend.
My teacher, doctor, chef, and therapist.
In 2007, the woman I’ve been blessed enough to call all of those things and more – the woman who raised me – was diagnosed with breast cancer. After multiple false alarms in her lifetime, this particular lump had the nerve of throwing ductal carcinoma into the life of my mom and our family.
I’ll never forget that day – the day I realized my strong, independent, and loving mom wasn’t the invincible person we all grow up thinking our moms are. The weeks afterward were a blur. To be honest, I think we were all sort of in denial. Looking back I regret the fact that I minimized the diagnosis. I guess at the time I thought it would be counterproductive to do otherwise, especially considering I didn’t want my mom to doubt for a single moment what a strong fighter she was…and still is.
After weighing her options about which form of treatment was best for her type and (thankfully very early) stage of breast cancer, my mom opted for a lumpectomy. With the support of our family, friends, and my mom’s two sisters, who are both breast cancer survivors themselves, my mom underwent the surgery. She has now been in remission for more than five years.
So…what now? Well, my mom’s cancer was definitely a wake-up call for our family to the fact that no one – not even our firecracker of a mom – is invincible or immune to cancer. But we also learned the importance of sticking together, praying relentlessly for the health of our family, and fighting without even the consideration of giving up.
I’ve also personally learned how I have to constantly be monitoring my own health. Thankfully my mom is not a carrier of the BRCA-1 or BRCA-2 genes, which would have increased my chances of getting breast cancer. But that doesn’t mean it still can’t happen to me or my future daughters. I know one thing, though: I refuse to live in fear. After seeing my mom and millions of other women fight breast cancer, I believe that a cure is in sight. We will beat this.
Want to join the fight?
Bank of America has launched a new microsite in partnership with Susan G. Komen™, Everyday Portraits which transforms a picture and a story into a one-of-a-kind portrait that allows users to honor anyone who has fought or is fighting breast cancer. They feel it’s important to put a face to those who have been fearless, heroic, and courageous in their fight against breast cancer. Through your words you will be able to honor these amazing people and take an active part in highlighting their strength and spirit.
Visit the Bank of America and Susan G. Komen™ Everyday Portraits website to create a portrait of the person you want to honor – whether it’s yourself or a friend or family member. Simply upload a photo and write a tribute that best expresses your feelings about this person, and the Everyday Portraits program will turn the photo into an illustration made from your words. Each day a different portrait will be featured on the homepage. You can also download your portrait as well as share it with family and friends on Facebook and Twitter. This is a simple yet meaningful way to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Bank of America will contribute $5 for every portrait made through the month of October.
Do you know a woman who deserves to be celebrated for her fight against breast cancer? I would love to hear your stories!