Joining the Pink Ribbon Project (PRP) committee three years ago was a no-brainer ! My mom is a breast cancer survivor! I knew that I needed to learn more about this disease and do my part to raise awareness and funding for research. Not only does my mom’s future depend on it, but maybe so does mine and my daughter’s, maybe her daughter’s and the daughters after that!!! I know that what we do now, will impact our family’s future for years to come.
Working on PRP has given me a chance to look back and look forward. Looking back reminds me of how it was in the beginning, for me and for my family. Bringing the Pink Ribbon Project to our community allows me to help others who are just getting started in their own journey with breast cancer.
When my Mom was first diagnosed, the unknown was so very scary. I will never forget sitting in the Doctor’s office while we were given the news. My Mom had breast cancer. How do you even begin to ask questions about something you know nothing about? We obviously knew breast cancer existed but all of a sudden we were overwhelmed with information. There are so many different kinds of breast cancer and different stages and it’s not just as simple as getting the lump or breast (s) removed (which is actually a whole other difficult decision in it’s self!) It was all so confusing. I wish I had been more aware. Even while my Mom was going through treatment, I still didn’t understand all it entailed and what it might mean for the future.
So in the beginning it was simple. My Mom is a survivor and I wanted to help. I wanted to know more, I believe that knowledge is power. Over the past few years, my reasons for continuing to “PRP” have become more complex as my own understanding of breast cancer grows. I am still learning about breast cancer and being on the committee is the biggest part of that.
Listening to the impact that breast cancer is having on my fellow committee members lives and families has opened my eyes. I didn’t know that when or if breast cancer ‘comes back’ that it can come back as stage 4, or metastatic breast cancer and that when it does, it won’t just be in the original breast location, it can come back in your bones or organs and it’s still called breast cancer!! I recently learned that 1 in 3 breast cancer survivors will have their cancer recur as stage 4! This statistic tells me that there is a possibility that my Mom’s cancer could come back. Now don’t get me wrong, I am still hopeful that it won’t; but if it does, I will be more educated and feel a bit better knowing that through the Pink Ribbon Project I have helped put forth an effort to raise funds for research and education. Our support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation allows us to support research, and the work that they do in discovering life saving treatment and hopefully one day, a cure for breast cancer.
This year we are choosing to expand our support for breast cancer organizations to include the Canadian Breast Cancer Network. Now, I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t heard of this organization or the work that they do! They have been working hard to educate others on stage 4 breast cancer and we want to support them in this area while we learn more about it ourselves!
One of the biggest reasons I continue to volunteer for PRP is to support others. It makes me teary eyed to hear stories of those in our community that have just received a diagnosis, approach survivors they met or heard about at Pink Ribbon Project! Without attending PRP it may have taken them longer to find someone to reach out to for support. We believe strongly that it’s not just about raising money. Its about awareness and creating a community of support. I had a friend contact me when she was diagnosed with breast cancer to see if she could talk to my Mom. It’s very important not to feel alone. For those who are going through breast cancer to be able to connect with someone else who truly understands is so important. If we can help make that happen, that may be the most valuable thing that we do!
I am so proud to be part of the PRP team and of all we have accomplished over the past few years and I have big hopes and dreams for the future of the Pink Ribbon Project. You can find all the event details for this year, including ticket information here: PRP 2016 or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date!
While there are many different reasons as to “Why we PRP…..” my biggest WHY will always be my Mom. She is the best Mom and best Grandma in the world! Her grandkids adore her and even call her “Fun Grandma” because she has always been the type of Grandma to get down on the floor and play with the kids! If there is a kid tent, she’s in it; a game to play, she’s playing ; you want to go to the dollar store, just say the word!! We all need her in our lives for a very long time!!
This Christmas will be 5 years since my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am thankful for the care she received and the advances in the treatment of breast cancer that are keeping her right here where she needs to be! Mom, you are my rock, my advisor, my BEST friend! You have always known how to build me up and give me strength when I need it. Thank you for everything you do and everything you are. You are the most courageous & strong woman I know and I strive to be like you. I love you and cannot imagine life with out you!