About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S. (breast cancer.org)
This year, my aunt Pam was one of them. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and from there, she has been enduring surgeries, chemo, and discovering cancer in different places. Cancer sucks. It is definitely not easy to watch a family member go through such a long and painful journey, and for me it wouldn’t have made sense to just watch and not try to do something about it.
I went to visit Pam during chemotherapy a couple weeks ago, and I walked in not knowing what to expect. I had never had to visit anybody going through chemo. I discovered very quickly that cancer had a whole different side to it that I have never seen or experienced before-you always hear about how cancer has affected the lives of others, and you hurt for those going through it, but its not the same when you see it firsthand. There were so many people getting treated, so many family members holding their hands. Just walking through that chemo center brought things in perspective, and so began the thought of “I have got to do something.”
I am not smart enough to come up with a cure. It felt like I was too small to actually do something that would impact anybody in the slightest, but after thinking, I realized that there are many thing that I (and you!) can do to show support for the lives hit by such a terrible disease.
I originally wanted to shave my head. I had the thought a couple months ago when Pam was first diagnosed, but school and dance and everything else got in the way of that plan. When I brought it up to my mom one night on the way to work, she didn’t have an answer to why I shouldn’t just shave my head, and donate all of it. I got thick locks, I could have probably gotten at least two or three ponytails for donations. However, after praying and speaking with a couple of my closest friends, I decided that right now is not the time to shave my head. Who knows what will happen in the future though..
Nine inches later, and my hair is going to be used for a wig for a woman battling cancer. I did not expect it to be so short, and in the back of my head I wanted to keep growing it out so I wouldn’t have to basically start over with my hair. But when my stylist, Nancy, tied up my hair to show what I was “losing” to have another woman gain..I knew there was no other time.
The first strand of hair that fell out of the ponytail scared me..because it did not look good. I regretted it and I hated it, but that only lasted one second. Once all my hair fell out and I saw what I was giving to someone in need in honor of my beautiful aunt, it was seriously all worth it. There is no other way to describe my emotions, other than thankfulness. I was thankful for being blessed with a full head of hair (thanks dad), thick and long and beautiful. I was thankful for my mother for letting me do it. I was thankful for my kind and giving heart, because I know not everybody would be able to go through with this kind of thing. (not saying if you wouldn’t do it, you aren’t kindhearted!) I was thankful for my aunt Pam, being strong through all of her trials and still always looking to and thanking God every single day, even when it was hard.
I am donating my nine inches to Pantene Beautiful Lengths (https://pantene.com/en-us/brandexperience/make-the-cut). “Thank you for giving to Pantene® Beautiful Lengths in such a beautiful way. Soon, you’ll be part of the largest national movement and first campaign to create free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. Bravo! Hair provided by generous volunteers like you will be used to craft beautiful, high-quality wigs by our partner, HairUWear®. Then it will go to a woman affected by hair loss from cancer.”
Thank you Lord, for keeping my Pam strong through all of this. Thank you for blessing me and so many other people with her love and inspiration, even in the suckiest of times.
Also, thanks for helping me to look like the love of my life. That’s a pretty cool upside to my new ‘do. 🙂
♫ song of the day // pineapple princess by annette funicello (thanks rachel)