A few months ago I wrote a bit about my mother, aunt, and grandmother all having, at some point in their lives, been diagnosed with breast cancer. A few people commented and many emailed to let me know how their lives had also been impacted by either their own diagnosis or that of a woman they love. We all know the ribbons and that certain shade of pink that instantly remind us of the fight to end breast cancer. I think part of why breast cancer awareness is so ubiquitous is that most (dare I say all?) of us know someone within our family, among our friends, or in our professional circles who has breast cancer, has survived breast cancer, or has been taken all too soon from our lives because of breast cancer. It affects us all. We all have a story to share. We all have someone to honor and celebrate and remember.
Bank of America has partnered with Susan G. Komen™ and created a really amazing website. It’s called Everyday Portraits, and you get to go on the site, upload a picture, and tell the story of a woman in your life (maybe yourself?) who has survived, fought, or been taken by breast cancer. Your story and the picture are combined to create a unique portrait of the woman you’re honoring. During the month of October, for every portrait created, Bank of America will contribute $5 to Susan G. Komen™.
Everyday Portraits is also an online gallery of individual stories. Remembering those we’ve lost, honoring those who still fight, and celebrating those who have survived individualizes the disease. It gives a face and a story and a humanity to the cause. It really is an amazing, touching tribute to strong, courageous, and beloved women. The awareness becomes more than a pink ribbon, it becomes the face of a mother, aunt, friend, wife, daughter.
Here is my story.
This is my mother with my third son in October 2008.
Three months later, in January of 2009, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 61 years old, just two years shy of the age her own mother was when she was diagnosed with cancer, which shortly thereafter took her life. Surgery, chemo, and radiation were ordered for my mother. My boys were used to spending at least one full day a week with Grandma, but breast cancer meant new routines. We had to be careful with even runny noses the kids may have; her immune system was weakened and she would spend days ill and exhausted from the treatments. A few days before treatments started, she invited my sister, my kids, and me to go with her to get her head shaved. My mom is super close to her grandkids, and she was worried how they would react to her hair loss.
Over the next few months, we prayed, we cried, we laughed, we hoped.
My mom’s prognosis was very good, considering, and her treatments went well and as planned. Her cancer went into remission.
And then in winter 2010, almost to the day of my mom’s diagnosis, her sister was diagnosed with pancreatic and breast cancers. Pat’s prognosis and battle were not the same as my mom’s. My mom lost her sister in 2011, just as my mom was celebrating two years of remission. It was a very bittersweet victory.
My mom has now been declared officially cancer-free. She fought and won, and she rocks her sassy short hair.
Share your story and create your memorial at Bank of America and Susan G. Komen™ Everyday Portraits site. For every portrait made, Bank of America will make a $5 contribution during the month of October.