In honor of many survivors, October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness month. It is really important to emphasize the fact that breast cancer is the most common type to be diagnosed in women (yes, men can receive breast cancer too). Every year almost 200,000 people are diagnosed, and unfortunately, a fourth of the population is expected to die from the disease.
Micaela Soria, a senior, recalls her grandmother’s experience with breast cancer. “My grandmother, Stella and I are extremely close. She was diagnosed when I was really young, and at the time I didn’t really understand what was happening. But I know that it would have greatly affected me if she wasn’t around now.” When asked about the process her grandmother had to face, Soria says, “It was really tough. My family is really old fashion, and my grandpa had a big burden on his shoulder, because he had to take care of everyone. It was very overwhelming for him.” Fortunately, Stella is now Breast cancer free and has occasional check ups.
Mackenzie Domingues also shares her story with a close, loved one who battled breast cancer.”I was really close to my mom’s co-worker of twenty years. I would always go with my mom to work. I was about twelve when I learned the news and couldn’t believe it. She had really long hair, and had to cut it all off. She was gone for almost a year and we would check in on her several times.Thankfully, she is doing great and now is in remission.”
Even though October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, we all must be aware that there are also tons of other types that affect people. It may occur anywhere in the body, from head to toe. I had the opportunity to speak with our very own student here at El Diamante, Chase Burch, who received cancer at a young age, but successfully defeated it and is now cancer free.
“When I was ten, I remember that I had headaches, and my parents thought it was not a big deal thinking it was just the flu.” But it got worse. “I don’t remember much. But I was taken to Fresno in an ambulance for an emergency surgery. Then the doctor told my parents that I was diagnosed with Cancer, specifically Medulloblastoma.” Medullablastoma, is a brain tumor, and the growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain. “I remember my mom saying, ‘This is not it. we’re going to find the best option for our daughter.’” Burch’s family then learned about St. Jude’s hospital and began undergoing treatment. Chase learned this was a serious issue soon. “I left the hospital to visit home for a little bit, and I saw my grandma was doing jumping jacks. When I attempted to, I couldn’t do anything.” Not only did Chase learn how serious cancer was, she was forced to suffer through harsh conditions and treatments. “I had radiation for six weeks and went through chemotherapy for four months. After surgery, I wasn’t able to walk and had to learn again, and I had a left hand deficiency.” Chase’s treatments and procedures lasted for about a year, but it was all worth it. “I began seeing a physical therapist and became better and better. And after another surgery, I was pretty much finished.” Luckily Chase finished her last treatment on her birthday. “I had my last treatment on my birthday. And I think it was the best birthday gift ever.” When I asked her about how she feels about life now, she replied, “I definitely appreciate life more. I’m so thankful for my family, friends, and really appreciate the little things.” This year, Chase is officially cancer free for 5 wonderful years.
Chase’s family also created a foundation called “Hats and Hair from Kids Who Care.”
“One day, My friends from elementary school wanted to raise money to buy me wigs to wear. And my mom actually clipped on hair pieces on a baseball cap and told me to try it on. I never took it off because I loved it so much!” Mrs. Bitney’s homeroom, with your help, actually donated all the proceeds from the annual pumpkin decorating contest to the “Hats and Hair From Kids Who Care” foundation. If you would like to donate or help out, please check out http://www.hatsandhair.blogspot.com/
So remember it is very important to become aware of this deadly cause. Keep in mind that if we all take part, we can eventually end cancer becoming the number one cause of death.