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The power of pink

| Monday, October 19, 2020

It is definitely safe to say that 2020 has been a wild ride. I don’t need to get into the details — you all know the drill by now. Global pandemic, a heated presidential election, et cetera. All of this chaos has been occupying my mind, so much so that I didn’t even realize what month it was until I walked into South Dining Hall one evening for dinner.

As I walked in, my eyes were drawn to the display of pink ribbons, boas and roses in the window. Crap — I completely forgot it was October. I forgot it was breast cancer awareness month.

Although I may have forgotten what month it was, I will never forget what my family has gone through. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer during the fall of my freshman year of college, almost a year to the day after her mother — my grandma — was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two of the most important women in my life were fighting the same disease at the same time.

My mom made the decision to take preventative action against the cancer, and my winter break of freshman year was filled with doctor’s visits, hospitals and many movies in bed together. Taking care of her alongside my sisters was a privilege for me. This unexpected time together truly bonded us as a family. Seeing the strength my mom displayed every single day taught my sisters and I the true meaning of courage and perseverance. She never once complained about the pain she felt or expressed her worries about the next surgery. She just knew she had to do it for us. My mom followed the example my grandmother set in her own fight. She fought hard for us, and I will forever be grateful for her determination.

My mom’s determination is the reason why I still have the chance to call her every day. I still have the chance to go on unsweetened iced tea runs with her. I still have the chance to make fun of my dad with her. I still have the chance to eat her famous buffalo chicken dip and enjoy her banana drinks. I still have the chance to travel on long road trips with her, jamming out to “Africa” by Toto.

And I know many people are not as lucky as I am to still have the chance to do the little things with their fighters.

Which is why we cannot let this October pass us by. Just because we haven’t been able to participate in 5k races or see sports teams donning their pink uniforms does not mean we can forget about the fighters in our lives!

So let this column serve as your official reminder that it is breast cancer awareness month! Let this column remind you to hug the women in your life harder, appreciate the little things they do for you and maybe pick up the phone and give them a call.

And ladies: Don’t let this pandemic scare you away from the doctor’s office! Know your family history, schedule those mammograms and talk to your doctor. When you have your health, you have everything. Without your health, you have nothing.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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