As most of you probably know, Breast Cancer Awareness month is October. Which is obviously coming up and just so happens to be one of my favorite parts of the year. Not only is it fall and my total white girl status comes out, but there is also pink everything in so many stores, pink on the TV screen while I watch my Packers kick some ass, plus so many other things. It is the month when the most awareness is raised for this horrific disease. And also gives me another excuse to buy more pink things (but only if part of the proceeds are being donated of course.)
Unfortunately, breast cancer runs in my family. My grandma passed away at the young age of 40, and my aunt was diagnosed a few years back and is now cancer free. My mother has found many lumps and has been tested many times but luckily, so far it has never been cancer. I’ve also had many other people in my life affected by breast cancer. I’ve even had a scare myself.
I was nineteen years old. I found a lump. I immediately thought “OMG I have cancer. I’m only nineteen. How did this happen? What am I going to do? Who do I tell? I’m too young. I’m going to die. How will I survive chemo? Is this real? I don’t have cancer. This isn’t possible.” A million and one thoughts were running through my mind.
I secretly called my doctor, without telling a soul. She is also my mother’s doctor and knows the family history. She didn’t even want to see me. She told me to get a mammogram ASAP. I about lost it when I heard that. Again, more crazy thoughts running through my mind.
A couple of days go by and I finally told my mom. I begged her not to tell my dad because I was already freaking out and didn’t want to scare him. But she ran off and told him right away. I remember this vividly. I was working for my dad at the time. I was in the office when I told my mom and she brought my dad down and him and I hugged each other and we both cried. We were scared. I told him I setup an appointment for a mammogram and was going later that week. He insisted that he came with for support. And I’m glad he did.
A few days later, my dad and I walked into the doctor’s office. Both of us were trying to act like it wasn’t happening and that everything was normal. When in reality, nothing was normal. It was all I could think about. I got the mammogram and the results right after.The lump ended up being extra tissue buildup. The weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I could breathe again and was so relieved. My dad and I hugged each other again and cried tears of happiness this time.
This was when I knew I wanted to do more. I had to do more. This is when I joined the committee for the Southeastern Wisconsin Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. (For some history on Susan G. Komen herself and how the Susan G. Komen Foundation was started, I suggest reading the book Promise Me.) I had already been participating in the race for a couple of years, but that didn’t seem like it was enough.
My role on the committee for the first two years was IT Co-Chair. This meant I was in charge of updating the website, sending out e-blasts, and running reports. It was all behind the scenes. While this is fine and dandy, and needs to be done, it still wasn’t enough. I wanted to affect more people’s lives.
This year I served as the Fundraising Chairperson. I take this title very seriously and am very proud of it. I solicit businesses for donations and we use those donations in contests. I setup contests for three categories: Survivors, Teams, and Kids for the Cure. I run a contest for each category every month and it is all based on the amount of money the participants can raise and in turn their incentive is the prizes I was able to get donated. I am now able to be in touch with participants, hear their stories, and tell them they won prizes. Much more exciting than updating a website.
I also have been a Team Captain for my team for the walk for several years. I do as much personal fundraising as I can. And try to raise as much awareness as possible while doing it.
We NEED to find a cure. For my family. For my friends. For you. For your family. For your friends. For me. For my future children. The best way to do this is to raise awareness and donate/raise as much money as possible to go towards research to finding a cure. Be aware of the facts.
This year, my goal is to wear something pink every day in October. To talk to anyone I can about getting screened (and taking my own advice on this.) To donate when I can.
Stand up for the fight against breast cancer with me. Wear something pink everyday and tag your photos and posts with #PinkOutWithKate.