by Shelby Williams
Many would describe the month of October as the beginning of fall, a time to watch the leaves change colors or watch football, dress up and go trick-or-treating on Halloween; it’s also a month of reflection, support, and recognition.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Allergy season yes, colds very common, but over 2.8 million women were diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year; makes you think about missing that day last week because of a little headache.
“My grandmother had two rounds of cancer. She was ultimately supposed to live only two more years but she fought hard and overcame it, surpassing their expectations,” said Morgan Figgins.
“My mom isn’t in pain anymore. She doesn’t have cancer anymore and she’s happy. Sometimes it’s hard, but sometimes I just have to look back at all the good times I had with her. I have to tell myself that everything will be okay because I know that’s what she would tell me,” said Lexi Crist.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, men a little less but the possibility is still very much there. Imagine sitting in the doctor’s office with a loved one, either you or them being diagnosed with invasive stage 4 breast cancer. How would you react to the doctor giving you your death notice, or having the news broke to you about your sister or mother only having a few months left to live? Many people have experienced this, some more than once; battling cancer multiple times. But the fight is not impossible; many battle some more than once and they come out a survivor. A survivor who can proudly say I was diagnosed and beat my cancer.
“She was just really special to me, and sometimes I regret our stupid arguments and stuff. You never know what you have until it’s gone. But like my mom always said ‘this too shall pass’,” said Crist.
Many women, more than you would think, even within our small community, have been diagnosed with breast cancer. They have fought; some have lost and others you pass every day without realizing their victory and huge accomplishment. These women are strong, some embrace their illness or use it to help others that are in the same predicament.
“When she use to get chemo her friends would go with her, and every day they had a fun theme. One time they did a onesie pajama day and another was wearing sportswear supporting what their kids played,” said Crist
“When she was in remission she helped people get through mental stages of their cancer, especially first time cancer patients. They would call her whenever they just needed someone to talk to and listen. She didn’t even know these people and she still helped them through their problems as a friend. A lot of my mom’s friends that she had gotten to know through the breast cancer walks, and hospital visits unfortunately died. This made her want to fight even harder!” said Christ.
Today Breast Cancer is supported in and out of October; multiple organizations raise money to find a cure. Sports teams such as basketball have an official “Pink Out” game; volleyball participates in a “Dig Pink Night.” These events held brighten patients day; they can bring closure to those who have lost loved ones, and for others it’s just a fun way to give back and support this illness.
“It’s really cool that we’re raising awareness,” said Madi Etzler, player on the junior varsity volleyball team.
“Breast cancer is an ever present issue in our society and we need to represent it,” said Ayobami Afolabi, player on the varsity basketball team.
“Last year my mom and I did a 5k in downtown Frederick in honor of people fighting and people who died. And for the past couple of years we have been doing a breast cancer walk; it’s called Relay for Life. Relay for Life is in honor of every cancer! And my mom was the team leader. She was a leader in a lot of things. I think of her as a leader because she was never afraid to be herself and to do what makes her happy as well as others along the way,” said Crist.
When asked what October meant to these two high school girls who have lost a loved family member, this is what they said:
“To me October is a month to remember and honor my grandmother. Also it’s a time to spread awareness for Breast Cancer to be caught earlier rather than later, even to find a cure. It’s a month of promotion meaning that women along with men should go get checked regularly before it’s too late,” said Figgins.
“October means a lot to me; every October meant another year with my mom by my side. But this October is different because she’s not here. Me and my mom were literally best friends and I could talk to her about anything,” said Crist.
Yes, October is National Breast Cancer awareness month. It’s celebrated by supporters as well as patients and survivors alike. Multiple events are held and everyday you’ll most likely see someone decked out in all pink attire. Breast cancer takes thousands of lives each year and each year we try our hardest to raise enough awareness and money to find the cure. Not only for one month but all year Breast Cancer is recognized, though you may not realize it whether experiencing the battle of a family member or friend, even yourself you are never alone. In the words of one who will always be remembered, “this too shall pass.”