Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In Honor Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

First, before I get to my official post: Last weekend's Atlanta Gluten-Free Vendor Fair, sponsored by the Atlanta Metro Celiacs and coordinated by that goddess of gluten-free living, Jennifer D. Harris, was a huge success. Check out my academically posed post on this at my school blog!

Quick: Make a list of all the people you know personally who've faced breast cancer.

I list both my grandmothers Josephine Redente and Katie Rudeseal, my sister Betty Swanson, my friend Gail Wilder, my friend Barbara Monnett, my friend Carol (who is going through treatment right now), my friend Amy H., my friend Don's ex-wife Gayle Davis, my friend Meldra Panchetti and Royanne Eakins, and my friend Jake Goldstein -- the list could get so long as I think about it. I also think about my dear dissertation committee member Barbara Shoemake, whom we lost in 1998 at the age of 34 to the ravages of the disease, and Leigh Swinger, one of my first friends in Milledgeville who died four years ago this month.

And I think of people like me who've had breast cancer scares along the years and who have thankfully escaped.

We all agree: Cancer sucks. And this is the month we can and should try to do something about it.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, MyBlogSpark has joined forces with the non-profit community on mySpace called Pink Together to create awareness and raise funds for breast cancer research and support. It costs you nothing to participate, but by doing so, you can help lift up someone fighting breast cancer or remember someone who has lost the valiant battle against this horrible disease. It's easy to do, too.

During this month, in additionto donating $2 million to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, General Mills
will also donate $1, up to $20,000, each time a comment of encouragement is posted, a virtual flower bouquet is sent, or a story is shared on
through October 31st.

I added a flower to the bouquet of a beautiful young woman named Linsi, whose touching story really would resonate with many of my students. Here's her story:

The first thing you notice about Linsey is her smile. It’s the kind of smile that lights up a room. From the first minute you meet Linsey, you know this soft-spoken, thoughtful young woman is destined for great things. Her battle with breast cancer may have given her an insight on life that is beyond mature for such a young woman, but it’s done nothing to dampen her youthful joy. At the age of 23, Linsey was forced to make a decision no young woman should have to make. After a biopsy reveled she had breast cancer, Linsey chose to have a mastectomy of her left breast.Less then a year later, Linsey choose to have a precautionary mastectomy of her right breast, bringing her odds of ever having cancer again down to three percent.“In some ways, it feels as though breast cancer never happened to me. I have been able to move forward with my life. Still, the scars that remain from my surgeries are proof of what I've been through.”It was a struggle for Linsey to deal with something so serious at a time when others her age were studying and hanging out with their friends. That struggle was made even more difficult by the fact that there were no other young people she could turn to.“What I think about is how isolated I feel in being a 26-year-old breast cancer survivor. I've often read that women ages 40 and under are considered ‘young’ breast cancer patients. What does it mean to be 23 with breast cancer?”Until she found Pink Together, Linsey felt like she was alone in her fight, but now she has found a community of young women who understand what it means to be a breast cancer survivor.Linsey believes it's important for there to be more breast cancer awareness resources and educational tools that target young women. She fears that most women her age simply don’t realize they could be at risk.“I never fully understood that I was at risk, and for a while I ignored the lump I felt in my breast because I assumed it was nothing.”As the youngest ever Pink Together Survivor Ambassador, Linsey hopes her story will inspire young women across the country to become more active in the fight against breast cancer.

Through MyBlogSpark, I received a Inspiring Hope breast cancer awareness gift bag that I am donating to Zeta Tau Alpha at Georgia College & State University to use as part of their Breast Cancer Awareness Month Activities. All of the gift basket items are from, where 25 percent of the merchandise purchase price benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in the fight against breast cancer. I'm also donating the reader's prize to Zeta Tau Alpha to help spread awareness among college woman that breast cancer does not discriminate by age, sex, or race.

Most of all, I hope all of my readers who are fighting breast cancer in any way will go to the Pink Together site and post their story, so they may serve as an inspiration to others.

Much love to all of you,

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