Think Pink: Celebrate Hope on BRA Day
October is a big month for bringing awareness to many diseases that affect thousands of people worldwide. The most notable awareness campaign in October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Among the sprouting pumpkins and Halloween decorations, one can’t help but notice a rushing pink wave flooding the streets as survivors, advocates and health care professionals tirelessly work to save lives by increasing awareness and funding research for breast cancer.
What is breast cancer? Breast cancer is a group of cancer cells (malignant tumor) that starts in the cells of the breast. It is the second leading cause of death among women. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc., all people, regardless of their gender, are born with some breast cells and tissue that have the possibility to develop into cancer. However, breast cancer in men is rare, with only about 2,190 diagnoses annually.
A diagnosis of breast cancer is a life-changing experience.
“I understand the deafening sound of the word ‘cancer.’ It’s like everything freezes in that moment execpt the echo of the forbidden ‘C’ word,” said Donna Rosenberg, LifeGift’s executive assistant. “It obliterates all movement and noise as if you’re under murky water holding your breath and all you hear is your pounding heartbeat until the second you can’t hold it any longer and you’re forced to come up for air. It was then I realized that in order to win and become not just a survivor, but a champion, that it would take every ounce of faith and positive healing.”
Donna witnessed her cousin Debbie’s year-long struggle against breast cancer. While Debbie gave her all, their family lost her at age 45 on Christmas Eve, 2012. Six months after losing her cousin, Donna received news of her own cancer. “I was determined to get well and to honor her memory,” said Donna. “In December 2013, after weeks of treatment, I was free and clear of cancer, one year after Debbie’s inspiring battle.”
Another October observance that has a direct correlation to breast cancer and our lifesaving work at LifeGift is Breast Reconstruction Day, or BRA Day, on Oct. 21. Officially a Donate Life America observance, BRA Day promotes education, awareness and access for women who may want to consider post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.
Most people are not aware that surgeons use the gift of donated tissue to aid in breast reconstruction surgeries.
“My job allows me to impact the lives of breast cancer survivors by returning them to a normal lifestyle and regain self-esteem,” said Marcus L. Hunter, LifeGift GTEx project coordinator and tissue donation specialist. “I feel good about what I do on a daily basis to offer hope to others.”
This year on BRA Day, join the fight against breast cancer and honor the heroic tissue donors who helped in the saving of countless lives.
At LifeGift, an inspiring story lives in all of us. All we have to do is open up the door and share. “I am continually inspired at LifeGift by those who are living in hope and healing every day through the generous legacy of our donor champions and their families,” said Donna. “We can all be champions by sharing the power of hope.”