Welcome to Fight like a Girl! I created this team because breast cancer awareness is definitely close to my heart. My mom fought inflammatory breast cancer (a very rare, aggressive form of breast cancer), and did not know the signs for this particular type. Normally, most women know that it's important to do self breast exams, and if you feel a lump, it is definitely important to see a doctor as soon possible. However, most people don't know that there are other signs that could be an indicator of breast cancer.
My mom was working and had a very busy schedule as a teacher, so she decided to put her mammogram off that year. She started to notice a rash on her right breast, and didn't think anything about it for a while. When it didn't go away, she researched it and came to the conclusion that she had inflammatory breast cancer. She immediately set up an appointment, and the doctor confirmed that this was true. Her prognosis was very poor, and the radiologist said that was the worst mammogram he had ever seen. Despite only being given a year to live, she lived EIGHT and taught other people about her journey and to never give up!
While she fought hard for 8 years, she passed away June 8, 2009. I know in my heart that I witnessed a miracle, and I am very thankful for that. She was an advocate for breast cancer, and she wanted people to be aware of the signs and for there to one day be a cure. Cancer is an ugly thing, but she would always take it with a smile. I always remember this pin she had that said, "Put on your boxing gloves and FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!" And I know she lived out this statement through and through.
October 22, 2016, I am running in memory of my mom, Elizabeth Cartwright, so that her dream will come true: that people never have to deal with what she did, and breast cancer will no longer even exist.
October 22, 2016, I am running in memory of my sisters' mom, Betty Cartwright. My sisters lost her at an early age, and my dad lost both wives to breast cancer. Breast cancer takes away the people we love, and it must be stopped!
October 22, 2016, I am running in honor of my aunt, Mary Beth White, so that people know just how strong she is. She was diagnosed at a very early age with breast cancer, but today, she is in remission completely and kicked cancer's butt!
October 22, 2016, I am running in honor of my cousin, Kim Stevens Gray, so that people know her tough journey from this past year, being only 34 years old, and that she is also in remission and kicked cancer's butt!!
October 22, 2016, I am running for myself. Because of my extensive family history of breast cancer, I decided to do genetic testing to see if I carry the genetic mutation that makes me more susceptible to breast cancer. BRCA is the most common genetic mutuation and most widely researched, but this type of genetic testing looked for newer genetic mutations as well. Back this past July, I was called into the office and told that I do carry a genetic mutation called "Chek2." There isn't that much research on it yet, but it does let me know that I have a 50% risk of getting breast cancer (most women have about a 15% chance just because they are female), and that I will have to start MRI's and mammograms much earlier than most.
Just from newer research, I was able to learn what I am dealing with and how I can prevent getting breast cancer. Imagine what we will have in ten more years if we just keep fighting and making it a personal goal to get rid of this awful disease. One day if we keep fighting for a cure, our daughters and daughters' daughters will never even know what breast cancer is, and we will never have to utter the words "breast cancer" ever again! It's time to put your boxing gloves on, tie up your running shoes, and Fight like a Girl!!
Leave an encouraging note for the team!