October 1st marks the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research Month. As we know, there are a tremendous number of organizations and non-profit groups that are committed to ridding our world of this horrible disease. Sponsors for fund raising to aid cancer survivors, their families, and medical research range from large corporations to mid- and small-size businesses to community agencies and places of worship. Statistical information from the American Cancer Society website (2007) is staggering:
"Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman's life is about 1 in 8 (12%). It is estimated that in 2007 about 178,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States. Women living in North America have the highest rate of breast cancer in the world. At this time there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States."
When cancer is diagnosed in a family member, those statistics become all too real, and yet they disappear. Cancer is not about statistics, it's about life-altering events for the person we love. And it's about how we re-prioritize aspects of our lives to do everything within our power to battle the disease for and with our loved one. Focusing on quality of life and harmonious experiences are at the heart of all we think, say, and do.
While we have included a number of breast cancer references and websites on Sherryl's homepage and in these Updates, the one that resonates so personally is the story behind "Susan G. Komen For the Cure." The reason this story strikes such a personal chord is because it is a story about sisters. Although breast cancer is not exclusive to women, in this case, the relationship between sisters has resulted in creating "the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures." (Susan G. Komen for the Cure website, 2007).
In observance of Breast Cancer Awareness and Research Month and in honor of our sister, Sherryl, we invite you to read the inspirational and poignant story about the promise Nancy Brinker made to her sister, Susan G. Komen. To quote a colleague of Arleen's, who is an oncology nurse and breast cancer survivor, "We are all sisters in this world. We need to take care of each other." Amen.