Think pink and fight cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In Seattle it kicked off Oct. 2 with a walk/run and lots of advertising.

I think most of us on the Plateau are aware of breast cancer.

While I have known people who have battled and beaten breast cancer, until now, it has never touched our family – we all tend to have heart disease. However, this year both of my sisters-in-law were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Each had surgery; K’s was followed by chemotherapy and radiation while M’s was followed by just radiation.

In 2008, 152,220 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. That is an astounding number. Another number that startled me was this – one in eight women will at some point in their lives be diagnosed with breast cancer. So, if I have 15 people in my class on a given day, statistics say two of us will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Wow!

When I did my grocery shopping today I noticed three displays at the store focused on breast cancer awareness. One was for bottled water, one for wine. When I read the signs accompanying the displays I discovered both the companies whose products were displayed are donating part of their profits toward breast cancer research. Well, why not buy water? Why not a bottle of wine? Later I discovered similar plans for products by Gatorade, General Mills, Frito Lay, Oil of Olay and others.

Kroger and other stores have gotten together with 100 companies who have put their profits toward a good cause. I do not know what percentage of their profits they are donating, but these are big companies who can spare a big amount. We may not be able to participate in a Walk For The Cure, but we can buy a box of cereal or a bottle of wine.

The third display was made up of balloons and a large sign showing a picture of two women. At the bottom was a website “sharing”

The website is sponsored by many companies, including Kroger (QFC, Fred Meyer). It was created so people could send a message on Facebook of support and hope to people fighting breast cancer. I am not on Facebook, but the site is full of great information.

One of the best parts of it is that anyone with a computer can access the site and click on the “Wall of Hope.” It shows pictures of 63 women who have battled and beaten breast cancer, some of them more than once, who tell you their stories. These stories are wonderful – so full of courage, hope, faith and joy – yes, joy! This Wall of Hope is the most wonderful thing I have read in ages.

OK ladies, let’s get personal. Whether you are 40 or 80, do you do a monthly breast exam? One of my favorite ladies at church discovered a lump when she was 78 and got it taken care of quickly.

If you are 40 or older, do you get an annual mammogram? I had mine in August. Twice during the past 30 years I have had an abnormal spot. In each case the doctor said we could recheck in six months.

Not me, folks! “Out, out damn spot!” It was removed, benign, and all was fine.

“Oh, Mary,” one of my students said, “I don’t want to know if anything is wrong.” It is better to find out. Knowledge gives you power, gives you direction and gives you choices.

Seniors, go to “” and read the Wall of Hope. It will lift you up!

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