Breast Cancer Awareness has become a far more visible cause in the last few years. It has moved into the mainstream, with participation from such unlikely sponsoring organizations, such as: The NFL (National Football) League and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). Football players clash against the opposition in highly-regulated uniforms. This month, player and referee gear is accessorized with pink gloves, hand towels, wristbands, and shoes.
This year, the media publicized breast cancer awareness, heavily, in the wake Angelina Jolie’s choice to have a double-mastectomy. Her family risk factors and the loss of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, from ovarian cancer at age 56, resonated with people, everywhere.
Just two weeks after making a public statement about her surgery, Jolie’s aunt, Debbie Martin, passed away from breast cancer at age 61.
My knowledge of breast cancer issues heightened during my time as a disc jockey, providing music for fashion shows. One year, a major client asked for a rare favor… ‘Andy, would you donate music services for a fashion show.’
The event was a fashion show fundraiser to benefit breast cancer research… with a major twist. all the models were breast cancer survivors. The models included women from early teens to their seventies. And there were a few men, too. All of them were in remission, at the beginning of the show process; usually 2-3 months before the event.
Modeling on a fashion show runway is not for the faint of heart, for any non-professional. For a breast cancer survivor, it is a difficult and potentially emotional circumstance. Inevitably, the warmth and support from family and friends would always ease the fears, and win the day.
What I didn’t realize
… about breast cancer could have filled a library. I didn’t realize it could strike women at such a young age. I didn’t realize it affected men. I came to understand, clearly, that being in remission, did NOT mean cured. Some of the models had survived multiple bouts of breast cancer.
The most shocking and upsetting reality was that some of the models I met were not there for the fashion show. Some had experienced recurrence of their cancer. And sadly, a few of them passed away.
At that point, cancer is not a concept… it’s personal. You know the people, their success, optimism, and renewed confidence. They were going to walk the runway to help others, and to experience something of a coming-out-party for themselves.
There are the times in our world when one thinks or says, “Life is unfair.” or “Why me?” … Not an unreasonable reaction.
In the interim years, research and prevention have improved success rates. Early detection is the name of the game. And treatment options have expanded.
It’s still personal
People are less anxious about sharing their diagnosis. Breast cancer is no longer viewed as an automatic death sentence. It is a health challenge to be fought and won.
Recently, I have seen a number of friends go through this fight and come away winners. I have another friend working through treatments, now. You probably have friends or relatives who have gone through similar challenges. It’s always a shocker.
You know what to do
… but I’ll say it anyway; just to be sure 🙂
- If you have a family history of cancer, get tested.
- Get tested regularly, based on your age, and doctor’s recommendations.
- If you know someone battling through cancer treatments and recovery, don’t feel sorry for them… be there for them. Ask how you can help. Even it’s simply to let them vent… just listen.
- It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, spread the message in whatever way you can.
- And if you have the resources to give, your generosity matters, in any amount.
Wishing you, your family and friends, nothing but good health… now and always.
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog