It’s breast cancer awareness month. I have so many feelings surrounding this month. I am working on finding a way to put it into words that are unique. Or not. So many of you have written so eloquently about your thoughts and I share those thoughts.
Many of you will remember that last month (or was it two months ago?), the Komen foundation posted an advertisement on national dog day of dogs in bras with balloons for breasts. This was their way of spreading awareness. Some people found this to be cute and funny. Others, like myself, found it trite and offensive.
Some people feel like we have done enough awareness. We are as aware as we can be and we should spend all of the funding on research. I will agree and disagree with this. I think WAY MORE money needs to go toward breast cancer research but I also think awareness is important. We have all seen the statistics. Those are fine. But I think the best awareness comes from story and seeing the faces affected by breast cancer (or any cancer, for that matter).
When I think of how breast cancer has affected me, I think of the toll it has taken on me as a mother and the time it took away from raising my son. While I am early stage, I remember every day that this can be temporary and that recurrence is possible at any moment. I’m constantly in fear of leaving my son without a mother. The thought is unbearable to me. It is always on my mind. If I were to share anything about my experience with others is would be that breast cancer is not an older woman’s disease. It can happen to young women as well. That is why it is important for women to know their bodies and do self examinations. If I didn’t do this and my cancer was caught later, I think my prognosis would be much different.
If you are willing and able, I’d love to collect and share pictures and stories of women and men affected by breast cancer during this month. As an actor, arts educator and facilitator, I believe in the power of story to unite a community. So let’s share who we are and how breast cancer has affect us and our loved ones. To me, this is the best awareness we can give.