When I was four years old I thought my mother was going to die. She was diagnosed with Stage four Breast Cancer. My family was faced with a choice of whether we were going to fight a long hard battle or let this destroy us. We chose to fight. Almost fifteen years later, my mom is a survivor. I am a survivor as well. I was so young when my mother was diagnosed. I remember waking up every day with the fear that it could be the day I lost her. A child should never have to live with the fear and anxiety of losing a parent, because parents are supposed to be there to love and raise us. It is hard not to be afraid. It is hard not to fall apart when you see the strongest person you know wither away. I had to make a choice. Rather than fall apart because of fear, I chose to fight back and be the sturdy wall my mom needed. I chose to grow up quickly because I refused to give up hope. I found that the best way to handle my fear was to help others also affected by this disease.
I became involved with Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I started off as a walker-stalker, cheering on my family as they walked for a cure. I spent two years as a proud member of the Boston Youth Corps, while also being a volunteer in Philadelphia those same two years. When I turned sixteen, I was able to walk for the cure. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I first became involved with Komen. 2018 will mark my 5th year as a walker.
As I have participated in this event I have met my second family. My “pink family” as I like to call them. These people have been there with me through the good times and bad. Some I have known for years, some I only met this past year. Without these people I would not be the person I am today. They were my support when I felt myself falling apart. They were always there to reassure me that everything will be okay, and I can never thank them enough for everything they have done for my family and I. My incredible team, Friends With Heart, that I walk alongside, is made up of some of the most amazing people I know.
While I continue to fight for my mom I also fight for myself. My mother is BRCA positive and now I know that I am as well. I have tested positive for the BRCA-1 gene mutation at 18 years old. That means I have over a 90% chance of developing breast cancer before I am 50 and will become high risk ten years before my mother's first diagnosis....that means my risk to develop Breast Cancer spikes at just 24 years old! I fight so that no one, including myself, will ever have to live with the fear of developing this dreadful disease. I fight for the countless friends I have met while participating in this event, who are currently fighting Breast Cancer. I fight for those who have wrongfully been taken from us far too young. I fight so that one day no child will ever have to spend every day wondering if this will be their last with their mother like I had to. I fight for the survivors, like my mother, so they can continue to inspire others, and serve as living proof that what we do DOES make a difference. I fight because EVERYONE DESERVES A LIFETIME!
Please support me as I take on an incredible challenge. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® isn’t just a 60-mile walk over the course of three days—it’s a journey to the end of breast cancer. Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds raised by the 3-Day® help support Komen’s Research and Training Grant Program and large public health outreach programs for women and men facing breast cancer. The remaining 25 percent helps fund local community and Affiliate support and outreach programs.