So I teased this yesterday, but as you can imagine, I’ve been checking out breast cancer awareness sites and have found some pretty cool organizations all over the world that are getting out the word for breast and ovarian health. (I may be trying to find cool Christmas presents… if you are on my list, I hope you like pink shit!)
Here are a couple of cool ones that I hadn’t heard of before, many concentrating on “young” women at risk like me (My words in italic, rest of the words are theirs):
- Bright Pink: Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization in the US that provides education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. This is where I met my Pink Pal, Tina. It’s amazing to have another young survivor to talk to about being a mom and wife and going through things like chemo and hair loss!
- Pink Hope: This is where I stole my idea that I’ll tell you in a min about from… Pink Hope is Australia’s first community designed to inspire women to be proactive and vigilant with their breast and ovarian health, while providing a safe haven for high risk women to connect.
- FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Our mission includes support, education, advocacy, awareness, and research specific to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Just because I’m negative for BRAC 1/2, doesn’t mean I’m negative for BRAC 5… and they’ve got good info for anyone with a risk to have.
- YSC: Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful. They send a “treatment navigator” for free and talk about things like preserving fertility… I didn’t need it, but still lots of good info.
- BCC: Information and support for anyone affected by breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care seems to do a little of everything for survivors and their families in the UK… and they have a cool bear in their own plaid from Scotland. How cute is that?
So as you can see, tons of cool resources out there where women can get more information and help. But the one thing I’ve heard from friends who have read my blog is that they don’t always get the raw, personal details. Almost everyone I’ve talked to have a loved one who has been effected by breast cancer. Often it’s a mom, grandma or aunt. But it’s rarely someone their own age… and often not an oversharer like me.
And one of the first rules you learn in Journalism school (yep, I’ve got a degree in that) is that to get the best story, you have to make it personal. You need real people to tell a story. Which is why I offer my story up to you every time I write, so that you can understand that there are young(ish) women who are out here fighting. And damnit, we’re WINNING!
But the first step to becoming a breast cancer survivor is knowing that the cancer is there.
So while I’m getting my chemo on Friday, we’re going to spread the word. Breast cancer is not just your grandma, or even your mom’s disease. One in 8 women will be effected. Heck in my office, that’s one of us in every row.
I’ll share more details on how we’re spreading the word, but we’re thinking something simple like sharing a pic in bright pink lipstick over social media… like the “Bright Pink Lipstick Day” that Pink Hope did in Australia last month. Because it’s not necessarily about raising $$, I mean, there’s a lot of research to do and money is hugely important, but this is something that anyone with a set of boobies cam possibly find themselves.
So my crusade, for the rest of the week at least, will be to raise awareness of the risk for other women under 40 so those women can find them.
After I get through my second dose of chemo on Friday, I’m pretty sure there will be days where my crusade involves getting out of bed. 🙂