by Christine Nappi, Features Editor
When I first found out my mom had breast cancer I didn’t know how to feel– scared, nervous, worried, all of the above. She had cancer. Cancer. I knew Cancer was a very real disease, but I never thought something like this would happen to her. Cancer was always a world away from me– yet one day I blinked and all of a sudden it became my world.
I feel blessed to say that my mom’s battle with cancer wasn’t an arduous one. As her doctors told her, she only had “stage zero” breast cancer. She had to have surgery to remove a small cancerous tumor to prevent it from spreading and growing, followed by weeks of radiation therapy. When my mom first told me about having cancer, she mentioned how lots of women her age undergo a similar process to cure stage zero. She assured me that she would be fine in the end– and she was for a little while until the cancer returned and she was back to stage zero. After repeating the treatment process again, today she is thankfully cancer-free!
I thank God every day that my mom’s case of cancer wasn’t that severe and treatable for the most part. My family truly feels blessed, because we know that most aren’t as lucky and fight to battle cancer in unimaginable ways.
Although my mom recovered and is cancer-free, the experience opened my eyes to how dangerous and common of a disease it is. Cancer became very real for me when my mom mentioned she had it, and even though she said she’d be fine, I was still scared of what could happen. Yet this fear motivated me to care more about this disease and I felt inspired to help other women and their families. That is why I want to write this article: to help educate others, raise awareness for breast cancer, and ultimately fight for a cure.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month– a time of year to highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness. Last year, I had the opportunity to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park with over 50,000 other survivors and supporters. It was truly beautiful to see so many people come together and fight for this important cause.
Although the walk won’t be happening this year because of the pandemic, donations are still encouraged, as COVID-19 is greatly impacting this cause and preventing patients from receiving the care they need. According to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, a branch of the American Cancer Society, 79 percent of cancer patients receive delayed assistance and care as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, COVID-19 will reduce the organization’s ability to fund research by 50 percent. Fighting for this cause is important now more than ever, and you have the power to make a difference by contributing to this cause.
Everyone has been impacted by cancer in some way or another. Whether it’s a friend, family member, friend of a friend, acquaintance– we all are unfortunately impacted by cancer. For some, this impact is more severe, and for others it’s not. Regardless of the degree of impact, we can all conclude that cancer is real, despite how far-removed we may feel from it at times.
So, what can you do? Although October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the awareness and battle should continue beyond just this month. We may feel hopeless at times, but know you’re not alone. Whether it’s raising awareness or donating to the cause, always maintain faith and continue to fight for a cure.
For more information, please visit the American Cancer Society at cancer.org.