I learned what true strength and courage are from my wife. It really is one of the main reasons I’ve pursued physical and mental challenges in the last several years. In the last 6 months I am starting to realize that no matter how many miles I cover, tough workouts I persevere through or scary conditions I dig in and submit to, I really have only scratched the surface on becoming an equal to Erin.
Just over 4 years ago my wife, Erin, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It rocked our world and changed our family forever. For a little over a year after the diagnosis, she had multiple surgeries, was treated with chemotherapy and overcame that diagnosis. It was an incredible assault on her physically and emotionally. Shortly after her final surgery, her mother was diagnosed and then her sister. It wasn’t very long until we started to think of our little girl. And Erin’s other sister and my sister and my mother. It left me, personally, feeling helpless. For a while, I played an important role in supporting Erin and then her as she celebrated her one year anniversaries supporting her mother and sister. The helplessness had to stop and I looked for a way to actively participate in the fight.
Enter the Edith Sanford Initiative . I was drawn to this organization for two reasons. First, they want to END breast cancer. Their goal is to stop researching a cure for it, close their doors and open an ice cream shop or something. Not really, they’ll probably move on to some other cancer, but I equate ice cream to a smile and all this cancer talk can bum people out. Moving on…..the byproduct of researching an end to the disease is the discovery of more effective treatments to fight it . The second reason I chose Edith was their commitment to not mess around. The initiative was set up to direct 100% of donations to their goal. Our goal. Every penny donated toward finding a cure for breast cancer goes to helps their researchers create better treatments and prevent breast cancer in future generations. That means my little girl. My “why”.
Erin was 38 years old when she was diagnosed and had absolutely NO family history of breast cancer. Furthermore, she does not have the genetic markers that would place her at a higher risk. Neither did her mother and sister. Our daughter will begin being screened for this disease in a mere 4 years, when she turns 18. She is 4 years away from a little thing put in the back of her mind to haunt her. A little voice that whispers “hey, guess what’s out there”. Help me erase this disease and quiet that whisper. Donate now!
Finally, a similar little whisper in the back of Erin’s mind encouraged her to do a self-breast exam. She had never done one before, she was moved to do one and found a lump. Some will speculate where that voice came from. Was it the Holy Spirit? Was is fate? Was it the voice of someone echoing in her head after actually hearing them say it or reading it? Like this….DO SEFL-BREAST EXAMS! THEY CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE. Like that? Let that echo around in the back of your mind and repeat it to a woman in your life. Statistically, one in eight of them will be diagnosed. This point, the self-breast exam, will always be the single most important factor in Erin’s diagnosis, fight, outcome and long term prognosis. She caught it early.
Please donate. Please share and encourage others to donate. But, most of all, take advantage of every moment you have. Tell a woman in your life how much they mean to you. Every day. Take a moment to consider doing something crazy or something you never thought you could do. Then go do it and find out that you are capable of much more than you ever thought. Do one of these and this world will be a tiny bit better. Do all of them and your world will forever be changed for the better.