Flashback Friday

(A Very Special) Flashback Friday

Left to right: Opal, Bett, Marie, Pearl (my grandma), and Bee

So, today’s not just about goofy pictures and fond memories.  For the first time in this blog’s short history, I’m blogging with a purpose.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I know, all the monthly causes are getting to be a bit much; I’m sure it’s Hug Your Dog Month or something too.  But breast cancer is something that has really impacted my family.  I have had five great-aunts who had breast cancer (two of them in the photo above): Bessie, Betty Anne, Nancy, Bee and Opal.  I know to most people, that’s like saying, “My sister’s cousin’s roommate once knew someone with breast cancer,” but I think I’ve said before that my family all lives near to one another and as a result is very close.  Most of my great-aunts were like alternate grandparents to me; that’s how close my family has always been.

The five ladies in the picture above, my Grandma and her sisters, helped my mom raise me.  Only two of them are still alive, but I have loved all of them fiercely, and I still do.  I talk to my Grandma (Pearl) and to Marie and Bee sometimes like they’re still alive.  It makes me feel better to think they’re listening, that they can hear me.  Bee was the youngest, the baby of the family, the only one who never married and never had children of her own.  She was bright and cheerful; she loved butterflies; she used to cut cheesy cartoons and jokes that cracked her up out of the newspaper and mail them to me when I was in college.  And she battled breast cancer three different times before she finally succumbed.

Today I’m going to actually ask you to do something, especially if you’re a cancer survivor, but even if you’re not.  I’m asking you to join the Army of Women.  What they’re about, from their website:

The Army of Women campaign is an online initiative, where women can sign up at www.armyofwomen.org. The members are then contacted via E-blast to participate in groundbreaking, breast cancer prevention research studies. They can either sign-up for the studies online, or if they do not qualify, they are encouraged to forward the information to a friend or family member. Every woman over 18 is welcome to participate, whether a breast cancer survivor or someone never affected. In many breast cancer research studies, recruiting women is the biggest obstacle, and our innovative program is working to virtually eliminate this hurdle.

Important things for you to know:

  • Men CAN participate.  I’ll admit, there aren’t as many opportunities for men to be in research studies, but hey, men get breast cancer too.
  • Signing up to be in their database does NOT sign you up to participate in research.  You can choose any research studies you agree to participate in on a case-by-case basis.
  • Even if you are not a breast cancer survivor, your participation can be valuable!  Some studies need control groups, and one study I’m participating in is completely online survey-based and is tracking behaviors and health over a lengthy period of time in an effort to help determine what things we do that increase our risk of getting breast cancer.

If you want to invite someone else to participate, you can do it here: https://www.armyofwomen.org/invitefriend.  If you DO sign up, spread the word through Twitter (#WritePink) or your Facebook status (“I signed up to STOP breast cancer before it STARTS. Have you? Join today at http://www.armyofwomen.org, then copy and paste this status update as your own.”).  Thanks for listening.  Back to your regularly scheduled nonsense tomorrow.  Or Monday.

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