I am so thankful to see pink everywhere this month to raise awareness for breast cancer. The Texans are decked out in pink, as are so many of our local news anchors. Knowing what breast cancer is, how many people are affected by it, and how to detect it are so crucial to reducing the stigma around the disease. We need people to feel comfortable talking about it in order to form effective support networks.
But we need more. We need a cure.
That’s why, at Three Brothers Bakery, we strive to do our part during the month of October to donate money to support the research Susan G. Komen Houston helps to fund. (Read more about our ribbons as well as our pink pumpkins and gingerbread men HERE.) This is a cause very dear to my heart, not only because I sit on their board, but also because I am a survivor myself.
I have recounted my story before on this blog, yet it is worth repeating because the need for action still remains. With more than 300,000 new cases this year alone, we cannot afford to be silent.
I was diagnosed in September of 2006 and chose to undergo a bilateral mastectomy with TRAM flap reconstruction. This was a more aggressive course of action than many people recommended, but I did not want to take any chances since six others in my family had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. Had I just undergone a standard lumpectomy, that surgery might not have captured the 14 spots that showed up in the pathology report.
My doctor at MD Anderson Cancer Center later told me that a genetic trigger likely caused my cancer. It was not the BRCA 1 or 2 gene, which many people now know about thanks to Angelina Jolie. We need to fund research that can give us more answers about this mysterious gene. Lives depend on it.
As we await a cure from great doctors like the ones we have here in Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Memorial Hermann, and Methodist Hospital, it’s crucial we continue to support those facing the disease right now. That’s why I participate in Race for the Cure – to remind those currently fighting that there is a community of people they can talk to about the many issues that arise during and after treatment. When the pink party goes away, we are still here to listen.
We also need organizations like Susan G. Komen to ensure every woman and man affected by breast cancer has access to the best and most effective courses of treatment. I was fortunate enough to be able to take the most preventative action without blinking. But for many people, the care they receive depends on their access to transportation and their ability to pay for expensive treatments. I am so grateful for organizations like Komen that work to fund transportation because, as Nancy Brinker once put it, “where you live should not determine whether you live.”
I am so proud of the work that has been done and the advances that have been made thus far. But with more than 40,000 set to die from breast cancer this year, the fight is far from over. So join me at the Race for the Cure on October 31 to continue all the forward progress. (Or, at the very least, look for my big, bright pink pumpkin costume!)