My Mom is a breast cancer survivor (that’s her over there, with the ridiculously beautiful bald head). She’s been cancer-free since 2007. She fought a hard battle that left her with big scars to kick cancer’s ass. When I got the call from my Mom that she was cancer-free, I was on my way to a committee meeting for FIRST FRIDAY. FF is a group that was founded in 1994 and whose sole purpose is to fight breast cancer through early detection and provide free screening mammograms to those in need. The women who make up the group work very hard to educate and fund raise to make it happen.
Luckily, I was connected with the group through work (my health system is the medical partner for FF, so our folks actually perform the mammograms, read the results, and connect people with medical homes). So, one of the first groups of people to hear that Mom was cancer-free was FF. The group is made up of survivors, healthcare professionals, daughters and nieces of survivors, sisters of survivors. In some way, we’ve all been touched by breast cancer or cancers that only women get. When I told the ladies of FF that Mom was doing well, there was much clapping and happiness.
Individual members also gave me perspective about my friend, Ronny’s, prognosis. How long they’d lived with metastasized breast cancer, the treatments that worked for them, how to talk with Ronny without talking about cancer. I’m so glad to have had their guidance. And the ladies of FF prayed for Ronny at the end and after she died. It’s a diverse group of women, so no matter the religious beliefs someone has, if FF sends up prayers or good thoughts, there are quite a few beings of higher power covered.
Last year a hospital in Oregon created a “Pink Glove Dance” video that went viral. This year the company that makes the pink latex gloves took the idea for the video and created a contest. My health system put together one of the videos (I’m looking at you, Julie). The rules of the contest say it’s to bring awareness to breast cancer, and while that is certainly important, I feel like most people are aware (especially in October when you can’t get away from pink). What I love about our video is that, if we win, we would donate the prize money to FIRST FRIDAY. That’s a lot of free screening mammograms, y’all.
Where can you see the video? Well, I’m glad you asked! You can watch it on the Pink Glove Dance site here. “Liking” the video generates a vote for it, if you’re so inclined.
One of the things I love about our video is that it is filled with breast cancer survivors. The rest of us dancing around and being silly? Just fun. The survivors dancing around and being silly? Freakin’ awesome. I know how lucky I am as a daughter to have my Mom. I also know how lucky I am to get to volunteer with an organization that has a small part in keeping other people’s’ Moms around.
So what can you do?
- Learn more about the different types of breast cancer, signs and symptoms, and breast cancer in men by visiting the American Cancer Society.
- Go get a mammogram (I will be, as soon as I’m finished breastfeeding).
- Do a monthly self breast exam (even if it’s not recommended any longer, I don’t see the harm in know your own body).
- Hug your Mom.
Thanks to all of my very patients friends and family who have shared our video with their communities. I appreciate it!