An Open Letter to Breast Cancer

My mom was only in her early thirties when breast cancer reached our family. I was four years old, the youngest of three siblings. To say that I fully understood what was going on when she was diagnosed would be a lie. Even still, the effects of watching my mom fight through a disease that affects thousands of women has never served as a greater motivation than now.

I vividly remember extended family members always stopping by my house, checking in on how my mom was doing. At first it seemed like more frequent play time with my younger cousins, but I soon began to realize it was much more than that. I watched my mom’s appearance grow weaker. She was thinner, losing hair and this young, full-of-life woman appeared tired, something that I hadn’t seen at that point in my life from her.


I may not have known what cancer was at the time, but the word itself can pull your heart out of your chest. At the time, having breast cancer in your early thirties was uncommon, which spiked fear in my family. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer throughout her life and more than 3 million women today have a history of breast cancer ( I watched my mom ache, fight and try to be there for her kids before she ever gave up on her fight.


Cancer takes so many people away each year and it’s frightening to think that there was a possibility that I could have lost my mom at such a young age. Although violent, horrible and painful, cancer has sparked an eternal closeness in my family. The constant hospital visits and the smell of medicine still linger in my mind. However, because of this early fear of losing my mom, I am fearless.


Today, I am proud to say my mom is a fighter and a survivor and has been cancer-free for over ten years. Breast cancer, this is one battle you couldn’t beat. Thank you for strengthening my family.

From the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I urge you all to be aware of the symptoms of the disease and get regular check-ups. There’s a long battle ahead before a  cure for breast cancer is found, but by continuing to be aware, by providing support for loved ones and by performing self-exams, you can make a difference. Don’t let the end of October stop your awareness.


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