I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was only 24.
My mother was 54 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She found the lump herself; it was the size of an egg. My family was in shock. We didn’t know anyone with breast cancer. The first thing we did was to go to the library and read everything we could on survival rates, hospitals, different types of surgery, everything we could get our hands on. The cancer, stage 2 initially, was very aggressive and she lost her battle at 57.
As a result of losing my mother, I paid more attention to my own health by doing a monthly breast self-exam and regular visits with my physician. Then, one Sunday night at the age of 34, while doing a breast self exam, I found a lump. I called my OB/GYN that night and she met me at her office at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. I was a nervous wreck. She immediately ordered a mammogram, sonogram, biopsyThe removal and examination of tissue from a living body to discover the presence, cause, or extent of a disease. and surgery shortly after. Because it was caught in the early stages, I was able to avoid chemotherapyTreatment with drugs to destroy or slow down the growth of cancer cells. Often referred to as systematic treatment, because it acts throughout the body, as opposed to localized treatments, like surgery or radiation.. Today, I remain cancer free. There is no question in my mind that doing monthly breast self-exams saved my life.
I learned about The Maurer Foundation in 2005 through a charity breakfast where Dr. Maurer was being honored. She spoke about empowerment, early detection, getting to know your body and how stress, diet, and lifestyle impact your health. The Maurer Foundation was unique from other breast cancer organizations I’d been involved with because the message was about reducing your risk through diet and exercise. And I loved that they focused on spreading their message to high school and college students, which for many, was their first time hearing about the foundation’s message of living a healthier lifestyle.
I began volunteering with the foundation and eventually became a breast health educator, telling students my story. In many ways, my mother saved my life. And she is alive today in me and in every child I’ve helped reach through The Maurer Foundation. Please join me in supporting and making a donation to this unique Long Island organization that I passionately believe in. Until there is a cure, The Maurer Foundation’s message of risk reduction and early detection is key to improving your chances towards a healthy life.
Wishing you and your family a healthy holiday season!