www.whyville.net Sep 19, 2007 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Wear That Pink Ribbon

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In October other than Halloween, haunted houses, and rotten teeth, it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every three minutes a person is diagnosed with breast cancer and although it is more common in women, men can get diagnosed as well. I am aware that there have been articles on breast cancer before, but of my knowledge, there has never been an article on a person who has been dramatically affected because of breast cancer even though they weren't diagnosed. This is my story.

It seems like just yesterday I heard the news that made me break down. My mother had cancer, more specifically, breast cancer. Tears streamed down my face as excruciating images of my mother dying raced through my mind. Growing up, I thought that this could never happen to me. I thought that I would be the last person on earth to get in a car accident, to have my leg chopped off from a ride at Disneyland, or for my mother to have cancer, but this was happening to me, this was reality.

My mother did a self-exam on her breast and noticed a bump. Since her best friend, Charlene, recently got diagnosed with breast cancer, my mother was very cautious and immediately went to the doctor. At first, she was told that she did not have cancer, but my mother still had a gut feeling that something was wrong, so she went to another doctor. They did a few tests and we waited for the results. This time we were told that my mom had cancer, and that was that.

After what seemed like one thousand treatments, it was time for the dreaded chemotherapy. What is chemo, you ask? Chemo is a treatment that many cancer patients undergo that can help get rid of the cancer, however, it is never 100% successful and it makes you very sick. During chemo, your body gets a high amount of radiation that kills certain cells, such as cancer cells and hair cells, which is also why you may see a lot of cancer patients with no hair.

My mother was hospitalized and puking everywhere, it was one of the most dreadful things I have ever seen. My mother has always been strong, even when times got rough, and it was so hard on me to see her so vulnerable. That week, when my mom was in the hospital, we got a phone call; Charlene had died. Apparently, her breast cancer spread to her lungs and brain and eventually the cancer ate her away until her death. Her body was still in the hospital and just down the hall from my mother; we went to go see her for the very last time. Charlene used to have gorgeous, long, blonde hair, rosy cheeks, and a winning smile. As she lay in the hospital bed, she had no hair, her body was tinged green, and the expression on her face looked defeated.

I fell to the floor and started crying, Charlene was such an amazing person, what did she do to deserve this? Was it because she laughed too much? Was it because she donated too much money to charity? Was it because she ate fish on a Wednesday evening? Will we ever know what caused this? Charlene had two kids, a boy named Jacob who was six years old, a girl named Elizabeth who was fourteen years old, and a loving husband named Anthony. They don't deserve this, nobody does. I went back to my mother's room and gently kissed her on her cheek. I whispered in her ear, "You can do this, mommy. I love you."

We were lucky; my mother survived her cancer. However, many people do not. Spread Breast Cancer Awareness by wearing the pink breast cancer ribbon or a breast cancer bracelet every single day of October. Talk to your friends, parents, teachers, and family about breast cancer and try to donate money to breast cancer foundations. Every penny counts, and every voice is heard. What's the main thing I learned from this experience? Hold on to your loved ones, you never know when they'll be gone.

Till Next Time,

Author's Note: Some of the following websites are places where you can donate money toward breast cancer research: http://cms.komen.org/komen/index.htm, http://www.nbcf.org.au/, http://www.gatewayforcancerresearch.org/breast_cancer_donation.cfm. If you want more websites just GOOGLE "Breast Cancer Donations".


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