Today marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's a nice thought - to raise awareness and funds for research. But there are lots of people who don't get to just think about breast cancer just for a month every year. They are living with breast cancer every day. They are fighting every day. It is a fight. A fight to survive, to love, to get affordable treatment, and to get through each day with a smile.
Back when I was in college I lived in the dorms. I met some of my best friends when I was living in the dorms. And I met Jennie Grimes. Jennie and I were not close friends in college - we said hello and talked sometimes. But we lived on the same floor one year and seeing people in their pajamas at 3 a.m. when there's an earthquake helps you remember a person. I graduated, went to law school, and moved on with my life. A few years ago I reconnected with Jennie through facebook. And that's when I found out that Jennie was battling breast cancer. For some reason this struck a chord in me. I remember reading her blog and the details of her original diagnosis and just crying in my office. This was someone my age, someone that I knew, someone who was really nice. It wasn't fair.
I had to do something - I couldn't just sit around. So I got involved. I participated in a walk to raise funds. I got my friends to donate money. I sponsored others in their attempts to raise funds. And I started to feel better. Because I knew I was taking some action - no matter how small it was it was better than doing nothing. It was better than crying in my office. That certainly wasn't going to help anyone. That wasn't going to help Jennie.
And Jennie is the example of taking action. After many years working with AIDS foundations she now works with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. They do great work and a huge percentage of their money goes right to research.
So what can you do?
1) Donate money. Jennie's goal is to raise $15,000 this month - help her reach that goal. There is no amount too small - every penny helps!!! So do what you can.
2) Sign up for the Health of Women Study with the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. The HOW Study is a first-of-its-kind international online study for women and men with and without a history of breast cancer. It will collect information about your health, your job, your diet, and your family history, among other topics that can help researchers get a better understanding of breast cancer and its potential causes.