As October comes to an end, it is important to remember that it also means the end of breast cancer awareness month. For our family, wearing pink and showing support for breast cancer research and treatment is more than just an October activity; it is something that has really taken over most of our free time.
For years my sister, my mother and myself all participated in The Weekend to End Cancer for Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation because we really believed in the cause, but it was not something that had come any closer than our family friends. We genuinely just loved the time together, fundraising, and feeling like we were making a difference. All that changed 3 years ago, while my mom was preparing to become a grandmother for the very first time. In the midst of exciting baby showers and talking about names, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and began her treatment plan with Princess Margaret Hospital.
Thankfully, because of the great work by the doctors, we still have our mom, and my little guy still has his Nana, but nothing gave us more perspective on special time with our whole family than almost losing one of the most important parts of it. Ever since that time, I have made every effort to make sure that our little guy understands how very important it is to be thankful, grateful and most importantly to try and make a difference when something isn't right in the world.
We have tried to include him in our fundraising efforts, and this fall he even made some signs and headed to the walk, ready to cheer on his Nana and Aunt Becca as they "kicked cancer's butt" as he put it. By involving our little guy in these special moments I know that he is learning 3 important things:
1. When something feels wrong in the world, do something about it! I want him to know that when something earth shattering like cancer happens to those that we love, there is something you can do about it. Although I don't know that we will find the cure tomorrow, I want him to grow and push for more than just accepting cancer, and how unfair it is. If it's the walk, a run, or a local activity, do something.
2. Be thankful and grateful. We always talk to our little guy about how strong his Nana is for beating cancer, and that she is here because she worked so hard to see him. I want him to always be thankful for those in his life, and grateful that they are with us. When my mom was diagnosed, it could have meant she never met her first grandchild, and we know how very lucky we are that she is here, and that other families are not as lucky.
3. Kick cancer's butt. At the walk our little guy asked why everyone was wearing pink? I made sure to tell him that wearing pink means that they are on the same team (he is a sports guy so this was an easy reference for him to understand), and that their team is trying really hard to kick cancer's butt.
Our encounter with breast cancer is not a rare thing. The statistics are staggering, and Momstown has some other ideas on how you can make a difference;
October is a special month for breast cancer awareness, and in the final days of the month, make sure that you wear pink so that you can be on the same team too. It will mean that not only does our little guy see that you are on the same team, but all those currently battling cancer, or supporting their loved ones through treatment, know that you are on their team too.