We would like to thank Carolyn Bivens for the below submission. Even though Carolyn’s mother is a 25-year breast cancer survivor, she was not prepared for her own diagnosis. Komen was an important part of helping through the surgery, treatment and beyond. Carolyn is serving on the educational series committee and volunteering for additional duties. She recently signed up for the 3-Day, 60-Mile Walk later this year.
Do them no harm…
If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them
Just six months ago, I was on the receiving end of those dreaded four words, “you have breast cancer.” For the next few months, people I didn’t know helped guide my husband and me through a maze of decisions and assembly of caregivers. From the first phone call, the staff and volunteers of Komen were available literally 24/7. This was a very different world than my family experienced 25 years ago when my mother was diagnosed and treated.
Two weeks ago, I attended a Susan G. Komen volunteer orientation and the very next day, a committee meeting to review educational curriculum as part of a series delivered throughout Orange County. At both gatherings the focus was to engage and better serve survivors and family along with improving education, out-reach and support in our community.
Today I had my 6-month post-surgery mammogram. Besides dreading the discomfort of the event, we were apprehensive. “What if?” I thought. But the news was good thankfully, no sign of a recurrence.
Next, I stopped by the Komen offices for a meeting and while checking in, paused to wait for a woman asking the receptionist if they had any scarves available. She explained to the receptionist that she was going through chemotherapy and was losing her hair; a friend had told her Komen would help.
“Yes,” the receptionist replied, “we can help.” A staff member appeared saying she would get a scarf. But the conversation didn’t stop there. The staff member explained that if later on, the woman wanted a wig, they (Komen) would fit her and provide the wig at no charge. The woman’s shoulders visibly relaxed; she was in a place that understood.
The list of what I don’t know and don’t understand about the latest developments surrounding Susan G. Komen for the Cure is long. The one thing I do know is that breast cancer survivors and their families are better off because of all Komen has accomplished over the last 30 years. It may be naïve to hope everyone unifies around finding a cure. If not, I pray that those who choose not to participate in the fight against breast cancer will at least, do it no harm.
We have come a very long way but as the woman with the new-found scarf and I both know, we have a very long way yet to go.