OPINION BY HANNAH BIGOT
I distinctly remember my mom walking up the staircase with a panicked look in her eyes. We had been waiting for a call from the doctor all day, and it had finally come. I remember turning around and running to my room. Heart sinking, sobs ripped through my throat for two minutes. I pulled myself together and put on a strong front and gathered with my family. That was when my mom’s battle with breast cancer began.
The battle began in early January, and I had a month at home before heading back to Drake. Returning to Drake for the second semester of my first year was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. How did they expect me to care about studying, papers and exams when my mom was at home recovering from a double mastectomy? Grades, clubs and Friday nights didn’t seem nearly as important.
Since I joined Colleges Against Cancer, it’s clear to me I’m not the only Drake student with a story like my own. Cancer, specifically breast cancer, has an impact that’s reaching way too far.
This year alone, over 230,000 women and 2,400 men were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Although the localized stage has a five-year survival rate of 99 percent, there have been over 40,000 breast cancer-related deaths in 2015. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. One in eight. According to that statistic, 225 of the 1,800 undergraduate women at Drake University will develop breast cancer during their lifetimes. That’s pretty alarming. Chances are a loved one diagnosed with breast cancer has impacted many of us.
These statistics terrify me. I would love a world where no Drake student, no daughter, no person ever had to hear the news that a loved one has cancer again. But in order for this to happen, we need to stop saying “someone should do something about that” and take it upon ourselves to make a change. If you’re looking to get involved, Colleges Against Cancer is a great start. Join us in our efforts to paint the campus pink during Think Pink Week or come to Bowling for Boobs Thursday night at Merle Hay Lanes.
If you’ve watched the NFL, stopped at Caribou Coffee or gone to one of the many stores decked in pink this month, you know October is breast cancer awareness month. However, this month is about more than just making everyone recognize breast cancer is still a problem. It’s about making everyone aware of the impact breast cancer has. Aware of just how many lives breast cancer continues to steal. Aware of the way it permanently changes lives. Aware of the way it can leave a family with an irreplaceable hole. Aware of what you can do to make a difference in this terrible mess called breast cancer.
Nine months, a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction surgery, and hormone therapy later, my mom is cancer-free and has proven there is hope for a cure. My family and so many others are grateful that extensive research has already been done and that cures are being realized. However, there is still a lot of work to do. Breast cancer sucks. Let’s do something about it.