Thursday, March 8, 2012
Why walk - This says it all
This You Tube video is 11 minutes that could change your life and the life of others. There has been a flurry of sentiment being battered about regarding the Pinking of America, Susan G Komen and ultimately women's health. I hope before you read anything else here, you will please listen and watch this video. For me, it puts the focus back where Susan G Komen has worked 30 years to place it, on the increasing the survival rates from Breast Cancer and ulitmately a world without Breast Cancer. Ok... click the link, or come back and look later.
Bridget Spence has survived stage 4 Breast Cancer for 7 years now. She has more courage in her little finger than most of us would ever hope to have in our entire body. I have followed the debate (if you want to call it that) about Susan G Komen for several weeks now. I am left with the overwhelming feeling that there are those people who look for a wound and see it as an opportunity to destroy their prey and then there are those who see a wound and want to heal it.
I see myself in the latter catagory.
Susan G Komen has never been political, but for some reason women's health has always been political. When it comes to Breast Cancer, it doesn't know if you are Republican or Democrat - it doesnt discrimate over age... you could be 42 or 21. It will not decide whether you are ready to die based on your eye color or the color of your skin... In every 74 seconds a person will die from Breast Cancer.
I have to ask myself, why would you turn your back on an organization that has changed the survival rate of Breast Cancer ( discovered early ) from a survival rate of 73% to 98%? We are winning battles daily against Breast Cancer. Today its a different world than 30 years ago. When I was in High School Betty Ford was the First Lady. She annouced to the world she had Breast Cancer. She even used the words BREAST CANCER. Only a couple of years before a friend's Mother had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and they told us she had "female problems". To people who were not around pre 1970, that may seem impossible to believe. But it happened. How many of YOUR relatives died from Breast Cancer and yet no one ever even said the words. Now there are many who insist screening prior to the age of 50 is not effective. Tell that to Bridget. Tell that to me. The battle still rages on.
When Bridget Spence was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, there still were misconceptions that threatened her life. She was only 21. No family history of Breast Cancer. 6 months after she felt a lump, she finally was diagnosed. The Doctor said "I don't know what to do for you." Those 6 months could very well have been the difference that caused her Cancer to be a stage 4 (there is no stage 5).
Since then she has battled for her life. She still does. With Cancer in her lungs, liver and bones - Bridget is beating odds just to be alive. What is she doing in her "spare" time? She is advocating for SUSAN G KOMEN. Why? For the same reason I walk. No one should ever be told 'we can't do anything for you.'
For Bridget and thousands of others, Susan G Komen has been the one organization that was there from Day One. They are the reason I am alive today. The money they put into education helped me to understand the importance of self exam. Despite the fact there was no "Breast Cancer" in my family history I had an inital mammogram at the age of 35. At the age of 42 when I felt a lump, I had another mammogram and I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Breast Cancer. A Cancer the Doctor said she could see divide in the microscope.
Susan G Komen was there for Bridget, providing a support group that was instrumental in her emotional health, a Doctor who listened and understood her and fought like it is a fight that can be won and 15 drugs, each paid for by the research funded by Susan G Komen.
I feel as though the noise we have been subjected to is only a distraction from the true purpose of our passion. And I know it is a threat to our Health.
Who is ready to put the focus where it belongs? Who is ready to stand up and shout? I am.
I am prouder today of Susan G Komen than I was 2 months ago. The measure of someone is not what happens when things are going swimmingly well, it is when there is a hurricane.
And my friends, with people like Bridget.... we are weathering it fine. We are stronger today than yesterday and MORE committed than we were before the storm.
In a world where a sound bite can go viral on social media, whether it is based on rumor or fact doesn't seem to matter. A new truth has evolved. It's somewhat like that old game of telephone where one person whispers in the ear of one person something like 'the sky is falling'. The whisper continues down the line of a dozen other ears and it is finally spoken out loud as 'the guy is walled in.' The things that go viral on Facebook and twitter are often clouded in misinformation and misconception. But a video from Bridget says it all. She is a living proof of what Susan G Komen has done. She and the 2 million survivors who can tell their own stories are what we are walking for. We are walking so that one day the only walks we do will be victory laps.