I fundraised for Bright Pink to help them educate women about breast and ovarian health. Their message of prevention and early detection is very important, and my family can easily relate.
Last year, I was at the gym when I got a call from my mom. I usually don’t pick up the phone when I am working out, but I had a strange feeling about this call.
“Your sister has breast cancer.”
A giant pit formed in my stomach after my mom said those words. How does my own sister, a previously healthy 31-year-old woman, get breast cancer? Just a couple of weeks earlier, she had found a tiny lump in her breast. The doctor was fairly confident that the lump was not cancerous, but suggested a biopsy as a precaution. When the results came back, everyone was shocked.
Naturally, I thought about my mom. This was déjà vu for my family.
My mom received similar news in 1988 at the age of 37. Doctors found something suspicious after her first routine mammogram, and a biopsy later revealed that she had breast cancer. I was just one year old.
For my mom, a lumpectomy procedure followed by one round of chemo did not do the trick. The doctors only discovered more cancer. She needed to have a mastectomy, followed by six more months of chemo and eight weeks of radiation. In March of 1989, my mom was thankfully declared cancer-free.
“When it comes to changes in your body, always err on the side of caution…”
Twenty-five years later, the good fortune for my family continued. Rachel underwent a lumpectomy procedure in June of 2015. Eight weeks of radiation followed, and then she was declared cancer-free as well. My family breathed a huge sigh of relief.
When it comes to changes in your body, always err on the side of caution, and be proactive about routine self-examinations, doctor check-ups, and annual mammograms. When breast cancer is detected early, like it was for my mother and sister, the survival rate can be greater than 92%. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, talk to your doctor about genetic testing. Finally, learn about appropriate prevention and early detection measures, and share what you have learned with your family, your friends and your co-workers.
Through all of this, my family has been incredibly lucky. However, we know that there are so many people out there that have not been so fortunate. That’s why I competed in the Chicago Triathlon with Team Bright Pink. On August 28, 2016 as I ran, I wore pink and thought of all those who have been affected by breast cancer, and all those we are working to save. Thanks to everyone for donating to my campaign — together we’re making a brighter future for women.
Like Josh, you can support our work by competing and fundraising on Team Bright Pink! Learn more.