Breast cancer has been a part of my life for a long time. My mother was diagnosed when I was a teen; my aunt was diagnosed in my early adulthood;I was diagnosed at 39. So it was logical that I would become a volunteer in the fight to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening illness.
About six years ago I became involved with the Komen North Carolina Triad Affiliate Race for the Cure®. I really wanted to contribute to the fight against this disease but knew that, with a full-time job and young children, my time was very limited. For several years, I served as the chairman of the Race awards committee. It was a job that allowed me to fully concentrate my efforts for a defined time, in a meaningful way. Later, I joined the Affiliate board of directors and I now chair the board development committee. I always wish I had more time and know that if I had 24 hours a day to devote to the cause, I would strive to make the day 48 hours long. I believe we all have a place in the fight, regardless of how little or how much time we have to devote. What's important is that we take whatever time we have to do something.
In the 31 years since my mother was diagnosed, screening and treatment have changed dramatically. When my mother was diagnosed, screening mammograms were not widely available. She found a lump and had a radical mastectomy, with no offer of breast reconstruction. Today, millions of men and women know more about breast cancer than ever before— they receive screening mammograms, are diagnosed at earlier stages, have a range of treatment options, live longer with advanced cancers and receive life-saving information through genetic testing. Many lives have been saved and lengthened. Additionally, the quality of life for the breast cancer patient has improved. How amazing! How could I not, in some way, be a part of this progress?