In 1998 at the age of 29, my childhood best friend, Andra, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I live in New York and she was living in Hawaii at the time, so I felt completely helpless in any way to assist her. Sure, I could support her through phone conversations and a steady stream of emails and cards, but I was heartbroken I couldn’t actually be there to help her through her most difficult time. Seeing the challenges she faced, I grew angry at the system and what was unavailable to assist those in need. My frustrations lead me to become an advocate in the fight against breast cancer and finding new ways to truly help men and women in Andra’s position during their treatment and recovery. Andra was diagnosed again in 2010, and I am glad to say she is currently in remission.
As I began my involvement with breast cancer awareness, I became involved in a local breast cancer walk known as The Gouverneur Business Women Breast Cancer Walk. The fund from this event assists men and women in St. Lawrence, Jefferson and Lewis counties of New York who are in the process of being diagnosed, treated or are in recovery from breast cancer. The funds assist travel expenses, rent, mortgages, utilities, medical and prescription copays, all of which are not covered by insurance. In addition, we operate this fund on a 100 percent volunteer base with no administration costs, so you know all the money we receive goes directly to the patient.
We also work to provide our patients with items that will help with comfort and aid in the treatment and post-surgery process. Our annual walk is sponsored by local business and takes place on the first Saturday after Mother’s Day each May in Gouverneur, NY. Last year we had over 400 participants!
I nominated the Gouverneur Business Women’s Breast Cancer Walk Fund because of the very real difference we are able to make in the lives of our local women fighting the fight against breast cancer. I cannot express what this organization means to me and loved ones who have been diagnosed. To date, we have raised over $610,000 and assisted 345 local women without administration costs. Support from companies like California Giant makes a huge difference, and I thank you for raising awareness for this disease that plagues so many.