We lost one of our own. A person who had inspired thousands of people, literally across the world, not just in our community but in the public.
Bridget Spence was featured in a 3 day ad on TV and radio, but long before that she stood tall as a representative of the most frightening group of Cancer fighters, the young. Too often when these people receive the diagnosis of Breast Cancer it is very advanced and difficult to treat. In fact when she first felt a lump, she went to the student health center where she was told, don't worry about that you are "too young" to have Breast Cancer. It is true only 5% of Breast Cancer happens in young women, but that 5% is at most risk of dying.
Bridget did her part by being a face for this group of people. Dana Faber Cancer Institute has a Doctor who is a Komen grantee she specializes in Cancer in Young Women. Dr. Ann Partridge was a source of hope for Bridget as she guided her through treatment and clinical trials. Those trials have resulted in new drugs that are saving lives now.
So how does a community who mourns such a significant person respond? It's been astounding. In December after Bridget announced on her blog she was saying goodbye to spend her last days with her family and her "Big Man" (her husband) the 3 dayers started a facebook group "A Pearl for Bridget". Bridget loved pearls and at the 2011 3 day in DC family and friends handed out "pearls" to walkers to honor her. (I still have mine.) After Bridget's announcement people from all over sent in a single pearl to represent a life she touched. A company online Pearl Paradise, took orders and committed to giving half of all the money sent in to Komen, and they strung pearls into various strands all to be sent to Bridget. The pearls that were sent in were strung and sent to Bridget and her "Big Man" and made into garlands for their Christmas tree. In the end Pearl Paradise donated $5000 to Komen in Bridget's name.
The word went out yesterday that Bridget had passed. What does a group like the 3 day do in the wake of such loss? They turn to each other, they support each other, they united to continue the fight Bridget fought so very hard. A friend suggested we each find a random person who is walking and donate $29 in Bridget's name (Bridget was 29 years old). I decided (since I have an escrow closing soon) I would give $10 to 29 walkers. After each donation there is a place where you can write what you would like to appear on the person's fundraising page - Everyone simply has written "In Honor of Bridget Spence". www.the3day.org
Some of the newer walkers may not even know who Bridget is, but those who have received this donation, know now. They may have had reasons to walk before, but now they have even more. Bridget represents both how far we have come in defeating Breast Cancer and how far we have to go. It is tempting to sit back knowing 98% of those Cancers found early are "cured". The problem is, 1 in 8 women are diagnosed every day and of those 1 in 8 die. Hold up a picture of Bridget the next time you read statistics, you will understand why "WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP."
Think of your daughter, hold up a picture of Bridget and you will understand why "WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP." And look in the mirror and hold up a picture of Bridget , think about how one person can and does make a difference and know why "WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!" Then join us.
Together we can create a world without Breast Cancer. Together we can finish this fight. Together we are an army of pink warriors who are changing the world.
Our heartfelt sympathies to her "Big Man" and her family. Thank you for having shared this incredible person with us. She will never be forgotten.