October 25, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Do YOU want ME to Know?

What do YOU want ME to know?

The 2014 Niche Parent Conference was in one word:  AMAZING.  The conference was inspirational, informative and just beyond words awesome.  I met so many amazing writers including Tomika Bryant, the author of My Mommy's Neighborhood.  I have to preface the story by saying Tomika and I signed up as volunteers for the conference and I was so looking forward to her because it was the first time I'd ever met anyone with the same spelling of my name.  I was thrilled to meet her and find out the origin of her name but as luck would have it we never got around to that discussion because of all the other fab happenings of the weekend.

One day, we were chatting with some fellow writers just waiting for the day's events to begin and she excused herself saying "I have to take this call.  A friend of mine has breast cancer and is having surgery today and I asked her to call me once she came out of surgery."   When she returned I told her I was writing a series of posts about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and asked her the question I've been asking survivors all month long: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Do YOU want ME to Know? 

Tomika shared her story of being diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2013.  She explained various types of breast cancer diagnoses and the role of estrogen in breast cell development.  There's an irony in the role of estrogen in breast development and breast cancer development but Tomika explained it in a way that blew my mind. She shared things I never knew about the disease and it's effect on the body.  Her diagnosis was not just a diagnosis for her but she was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and this obstacle in her path of life wouldn't be met without a fight.

She wanted me to know she knew women who died from breast cancer.  This disease still ravages families.  A breast cancer diagnosis is not a time to sit around singing Kum Ba Yah, it's a time to fight.  Tomika shared stories of women, both young and old, she knew who didn't win their fight.  She is determined to make a difference by telling the world BREAST CANCER STILL KILLS.  Money is needed to fund the research needed to combat this disease and women of all ages are dying every single day.  Tomika's correct.  According to BreastCancer.org, 40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2014 and 85% of new diagnoses will occur in women with no family history of the disease. (http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics)

Tomika didn't asked to be a part of this "sorority" as she calls it.  She actively participates in fundraising campaigns to fund breast cancer research and just recently completed the Tour de Pink and posted about her experience in a recent blog post:  http://www.mymommysneighborhood.com/i-rode-with-a-warrior-2/ 

In the post she shared a selfie of her and another Tour de Pink cyclist with the words "Today she announced via Facebook that the doctors have given her weeks to live and I am asking for you to keep her in prayer."  My heart broke when I learned the cyclist, Kara Guzzetti, passed away yesterday from a form of metastatic breast cancer.  Wake up people.  Wake up!  Wake up!! WAKE UP!!!  

Tomika wanted me to know
Breast Cancer kills and more money is needed to fund the research necessary to combat this terrible disease.


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