Dec 27, 1989. If it was good news, why did I have to go in for a follow up appointment? I spent my Christmas holiday pressing down a little fear. "I'm really sorry,” Dr. P said, “but the report is not good. It is breast cancer." The nurse looked at me with the saddest expression and reached out to squeeze my arm. The look on her face scared me more than his words.
The Oregon SW Washington affiliate of the Susan G. Komen organization got started in 1991 by local women determined to take up the cause for more research dollars and a Race for The Cure. A pack of my friends walked with me and fundraised for those events in the 90’s - I am so glad I had them by my side. Those first few years after treatment I tried to appear confident that I’d “beat it” but the prospect of a recurrence was something I had to cope with when it was time for a check up or mammogram. I took tamoxifen for about 7 years, so I had that daily reminder of my mortality too. I didn’t want to talk about IT all the time, but my friends felt comfortable asking me anything during those 5K walks surrounded by thousands of survivors and their supporters. Our Komen Conversations!
In 1996, Komen Oregon listened to a passionate dragon boat paddler float an idea for Rose Festival dragon boat crew comprised of BC survivors. Like all survivors at that year’s RFTC, I got the invitation from Dorothy to attend an information meeting in Lake Oswego. “Suburbs -pshht. Too far,” I thought, tossing the letter in the recycling bin. There’s a season for everything, however, and I found my way to Pink Phoenix in 2010. Paddles up to Komen for helping launch the first all BC Survivor team in the US. Today there are more than 240 BCS teams in at least 30 different countries.
Help me keep the Komen Conversations going. Funds raised through this event help support the work to save lives through breakthrough research, advocacy and to support patients, including through Komen’s Breast Care Helpline, Clinical Trial Information Helpline, Treatment Assistance Program and other direct patient support services. One in eight women will be diagnosed with BC in their lifetime and that long pink line of survivors behind me will have more resources than I had when I first heard my diagnosis.
Thank you for making a donation and if you want to walk in the “virtual event” this year, please join the Pink Phoenix team. My competitive teammates aspire to make us the Top Fundraising Team at the Oregon “More than Pink” walk on August 23. Last year we made the Top Five, but that isn’t good enough for my lively crew. Help us finish strong!