When Pink Carts first started rolling off the presses, there were a handful of people we knew had to have one right away. They were our friends and family, survivors and caregivers. They shared their excitement and their pictures with us, happy to be involved in raising awareness and funding to fight breast cancer. Among these many supporters was Sandy, a 24-year breast cancer survivor. When we delivered her Pink Cart to her home, she offered us a cup of tea and her story.
Diagnosed in 1986, Sandy had breast cancer at a time when pink ribbons weren’t as widely recognized, and the disease and its treatment weren’t as well understood as they are today. She was 43 and had so much going on at home that her annual breast health screening and mammogram were the last things on her mind. Knowing she was under a lot of stress, Sandy’s doctor called her and strongly encouraged her to come in for her annual appointment and to get a mammogram. Sandy listened and that day her doctor discovered a tumor in her right breast.
Sandy had an invasive case of breast cancer that had metastasized to her blood vessels. At the time, chemotherapy was only prescribed for women whose lymph nodes had been affected. So even though her cancer was invasive, Sandy did not undergo chemo or radiation treatments. Instead she had a modified radical mastectomy; a procedure where the tumor, lymph nodes and tissue are removed but the muscle remains intact. With the support of her family and her church community, she fought successfully and in 1987 her cancer was in remission.
Five years cancer-free is seen as a major milestone for survivors in remission. In 2010, Sandy celebrates her 24th anniversary of life after breast cancer and is forever grateful for her doctor’s phone call all those years ago – without it, Sandy’s cancer may not have been caught in time. She’s now active in breast cancer awareness activities in her community – volunteering for fundraising walks, participating in support groups, and most recently rolling a Pink Cart to her curb every week on trash day. Sandy feels passionately about doing her part to contribute to awareness building and support resources for women and their families dealing with breast cancer, resources she didn’t have when she was fighting the disease.
Today, nonprofit organizations such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) offer services such as Hope Lodge, where cancer patients and their families are offered a free, temporary place to stay while undergoing treatment. You can find ACS support services in your community at www.cancer.org.
Many women still are not fully aware of the importance of breast health and most will not receive reminder phone calls as Sandy did. We need to do more and you can help us! Join Sandy and Tell us your story about how breast cancer has impacted your life. Write us your story and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org - we’ll select stories to post on the Pink Cart blog and send each published contributor a free 35-gallon Pink Cart.
Use your voice to make a statement about the need to continue to build awareness, provide resources for fighters, and to find a cure so that our wives, mothers, sisters, and friends are not lost to this disease. Share your story to build awareness of breast cancer risk factors and the importance of regular breast health screenings. Write to us today and roll a Pink Cart to your curb to show your support for the fight against breast cancer.