It’s been over 6 years since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The very idea that someone so close to me would ever be stricken with cancer was, for a recently graduated middle schooler, completely unfathomable. In order to deny the reality of what my mom was facing, about the massive amounts of strength and willpower that she needed to get through every single day, of the resistance to the cancer and the energy-sapping drugs that she was putting up with the support of our family and friends, I started to make whatever I could about me. I made a point to never cry, so that I could be recognized as the strongest member of my family.
After my mom was declared cancer-free, and I became aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I furthered my selfish efforts. I participated in a Barbells for Boobs weightlifting fundraiser, and I seem to have forgotten the amount of money we raised that day, but remember the amount of weight I lifted that day. I wrote papers in school delving into the emotional turmoil that I felt during my mom’s battle. I begged for my friends to write my mom messages of appreciation and encouragement, and looking back on it, the primary reason that I did was probably not what I claimed it to be in my Facebook posts- that I wanted ease some of my mom’s emotional burden in the aftermath of her fight- but rather, based on those posts’ forcefulness, was centered on my pride in coming up with a valuable gift after seemingly everyone around her besides me had managed to give her happiness or comfort in one way or another.
The fact that it took me this long to realize the truth of my thoughts and actions is, to put it frankly, depressing. These things are not what this month is about.
This month is about offering information in crucial steps in the identification of breast cancer, such as self-examinations and mammograms. This month is about supporting those that have been stricken with breast cancer by offering them love and care in any way that they could possibly given. This month is about giving money to the foundations and hospitals that are dedicated to seeing a less invasive, less damaging, more effective cure to breast cancer be found, or to finding something that could possibly prevent breast cancer altogether. This month is about honoring those that lost their battle with breast cancer and remembering the courage that they showed in fighting their disease. This month is about awareness, sure, but also about love, respect, and compassion.
As such, I wanted to try to make my recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month less about me, and more about the brave men and women that have come face-to-face with breast cancer, that have poured, or are pouring, their entire livelihood into combating it, the fantastic communities surrounding them that help these phenomenal people in what are certainly the most difficult moments of their lives, and the doctors that are working to treat, research, and one day cure breast cancer. I wanted to change my motivation for what I choose to post, and say, about this month, so that my intentions were much less selfish and far more… benevolent.
After taking the majority of my weekend to think it over, I decided to write this post- not to get views or draw attention to myself, but for the real purpose of this month, to develop awareness of breast cancer. I changed my blog’s color to pink- not to seem in touch with the awareness movement that will be so prevalent this month, but to honor my mom, my sister’s best friend’s mother, and the countless other people that have fought breast cancer. I started an online fundraiser, for which all of the funds will go to … and to which I personally donated $50, not to feel like I am finally making a proper effort to combat breast cancer, but to help the dedicated doctors that are working incredibly hard to find a way to cure, or perhaps prevent, breast cancer.
I am beyond proud of my mom for overcoming everything she did, and even more proud to be her son. I was honored to meet many people who, like her, have courageously fought, and won, the battle against breast cancer. I am thankful that my mom was able to overcome breast cancer, and resolve to pray for those people who have lost loved ones to it. And I am hopeful, hopeful that throughout the country, that this Breast Cancer Awareness Month will help bring our society one step closer to eradicating the disease once and for all.
To donate to the fundraiser, please click here.
For information on the charity to which your money will go, please click here.
For information on performing a self-examination, please click here.
For information on getting mammograms in your area, please click here.