To Every Mother, Daughter, and Sister:
As a mother of two beautiful daughters and now grandmother to a pack of joyful and spirited grandchildren, I have made a simple wish for this Mother's Day. I'm not looking for bouquets of flowers and bountiful gifts. This Mother's Day, I want to end breast cancer and my wish is that we join together to be the generation that puts an end to this disease. Together, we can create a world for future mothers, daughters, and sisters without breast cancer.
When the "oldest" of my twin daughters found a lump in her breast at 32 years of age, we were all devastated. I was so scared for my daughter. This dreaded disease was an unwelcomed visitor in our family history, as my paternal grandmother had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. Sure enough, after a mammogram, ultrasound, needle aspiration, and finally a lumpectomy her lumps were found to be malignant. Her surgery was followed by a long year she of chemotherapy and 8 weeks of radiation treatments.
Things seemed to be going well and we all thought she was doing just fine, when she discovered another lump in her scar tissue. She underwent a second lumpectomy and four days later, what the surgeon originally proposed as additional scar tissue, came back as cancerous. They recommended chemo again but my very tough, "I can handle anything" daughter broke down in tears, as she just couldn't go through it again. After much thought and lots of prayer, she decided to forego chemotherapy a second time. She ended treatment in 1995 and today I'm happy to say that she's healthy and still enjoying life to the fullest.
Unfortunately, this was just the beginning for me and my girls. Eleven years after my daughters initial diagnosis, her twin sister, who was 40 years old, had just delivered her 5th baby. While nursing the baby she felt a pain in her breast. Much to her chagrin, she discovered a lump in her breast. Sure enough, this lump turned out to be malignant, too. She, too, went through a year of chemotherapy. Again, I feel so fortunate to report that all is well and this busy mom of five is running around like crazy with all her kids and loving every minute of it.
We are thankful for every new day and try to put the ugly days behind us. But three years ago, we learned that breast cancer was not done with us just yet--when I myself was diagnosed. I, like my twin daughters, underwent a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Although science has made much progress with treatment options, we still don't know how to PREVENT breast cancer.
I, too am now doing fine, but as the days go by and I see my granddaughters grow up I worry about what lies in their future. Successes and triumphs, relationships and heartbreaks are sure to come, but if I could be a part of eliminating one thing from their future…it would be breast cancer.
My daughters and I support the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation's Love/Avon Army of Women Program because its working to eradicate breast cancer and improve the quality of women's health through innovative research, education, and advocacy. What sets the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation apart from all other breast cancer organizations is its mission to move breast cancer beyond a cure by understanding the causes and ways to prevent it. They are conducting research that is focused on getting to the root of the disease and ending it once and for all. It is their firm belief that at the core of effective research is a need for scientists, women and funders to work together.
Talk to your friends and spread the word. Get everyone you know to sign up for the Army of Women, be a volunteer and help eradicate breast cancer! This Mother's Day, give a gift to your daughters, their daughters, and their daughters to follow. To support our work, donate today.
Help build a world without breast cancer!
Nancy Wyatt Army of Women member, Los Angeles, California