For years I loved scooping up special edition pink products during the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I always wanted that pink Kitchenaid that has now been revamped. I bought other kitchen utensils, pink bracelets, and some of the makeup items that are so gorgeously packaged. Then, something changed. One Saturday autumn afternoon while I was living in D.C. I called my parents to check-in. I hadn't called home in a few days as my phone had broken. I don't really even remember the phone call, but I do remember trying not to act upset when I learned that my mom had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and she was heading into an operation next week and starting chemo then radiation almost immediately.
The next months were hard. Hard for my father, hard for my brothers, hard for me who wanted to be home, but I knew there wasn't much I could do about it other than quitting my job and moving home, something my parents never would have supported. But most of all, it was hard for my mom. I watched her get very skinny and she didn't have as much energy for my many phone calls home. When I was home for the holidays, I took over many of her roles as chemo simply left her without much energy or a taste for food.
Happily, this story has a very happy ending, for I got to hear and watch firsthand how loved my mom is. Her friends all came with her to keep her company during chemo. Many more casseroles and ready-made dinners were dropped off than we ever expected. When my mom completed chemo, her friends threw her a big PINK party with everyone wearing pink hats and fun costumes. My Nana was even able to fly out for it. After radiation, they rented a bus and went to a boutique that stayed open late for them. The pictures of my mom's friends drinking wine on a charter bus are priceless.
This spring will be the third anniversary of my mom entering remission. I am thankful every single day that I still have her with me, that the cancer was caught and aggressively dealt with by some of the top cancer doctors. During this time I was also amazed how many others had stories of loved ones being sick, going through chemo, and struggling to find their own ways to help.
I will continue to buy BCA items, and encourage others to do the same. These items now have a different meaning to me, as every item makes me think of my mom. There are many other ways to give back. Find ways that work for you and inspire you to think much deeper about the cause you are supporting. Bringing over dinner, sending a card with a favorite quote or new book, or offering to sit and keep a friend company during the many boring hours of chemo can do so much more than you ever realize.