Racing for a CureJune 05, 2008
A little over five years ago, I whispered to my godmother that she was going to be a great-godmother again. Other than my husband, she was the only one who knew about my pregnancy at the time, but she wasn’t going to be able to share the secret with anyone else. You see, I shared my good news with her during her funeral. After 10 hard-fought years, a full mastectomy, and countless rounds of chemotherapy, my godmother had lost her battle with breast cancer.
Ever since one of her sons got in trouble for kissing my eldest sister in kindergarten, “Aunt Alice” had been a fixture in my family. She became my mother’s best and most steadfast friend and godmother to me and my five sisters. Despite her illness, she brought the world to us through stories and pictures from her trips to Jerusalem, Rome, Greece, Egypt, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. She became a teacher later in life, and the (literally) hundreds of pictures of family, friends, former students, and their families throughout her home were a testament to the way she lived and touched everyone she came into contact with.
This Saturday, June 7, I will celebrate her life by participating in the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders team. Staff members and many NCCWSL conference attendees will participate in this important event to raise funds for breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures 2008 estimates that there will be more than 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer and more than 40,480 deaths from breast cancer in women this year alone. Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among African American women. Yearly screenings and early detection are critical to lowering the risk of dying from the disease.
While my godmother lost her battle with breast cancer, thousands of others will have a greater chance of survival through outreach, awareness programs, low-cost and free mammograms, and other services funded in part by monies raised during the Race for the Cure.
Ladies, be sure and get your yearly exam (I DID), and make sure your mothers, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, and other family members and friends do the same. Together we can save lives!
NCCWSL Participants at the National Race for the Cure, June 7, 2008.