The facts and statistics about breast cancer speak for themselves; breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in 2012 worldwide, which accounted for about 25% of all diagnosed cancers.
The world view of this disease can be portrayed in large statistics and epic statements, but it is the personal stories that continue to resonate. Stories from survivors at their 12th Romp to Stomp. Stories of sisters, uncles, and neighbors romping in remembrance. One story of a nurse who went the extra mile, and with the patient’s husband, hosted their own 5k Romp inside her hospital. While stories from the outside continue to inspire our team, we have stories of our own of how breast cancer has impacted us personally.
The following personal stories of Tubbs Snowshoes employees, and how breast cancer has impacted our lives, demonstrates the broad spectrum of the disease.
I was probably about 7 years old. I don’t really remember how my mom told me, but her mom was sick, and needed to get chemical treatments called chemotherapy to get rid of her breast cancer. Grandma was going to lose her hair, but she was still going to look great with a wig and her pink lipstick. I never saw her look sick. She still dressed up with silk scarves, clip-on earrings, and an “I’ll do it myself” attitude.
And then she was better. I knew it was over when I helped her sell three different styles of wigs at her garage sale. They were priced to sell, and sold quickly.
My mom doesn’t identify as a survivor. Encapsulated by white blood cells attacking the cancer, the tumor didn’t have a chance to escape and metastasize. A friend of hers even sent a congratulations card after the surgery— “CONGRATULATIONS” and then hand-written, “Glad it was the good kind.” After a lot of tests, and a little bit of surgery, she was free and clear of breast cancer.
When she was 27, her best friend and neighbor, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Every woman in the family had died from breast cancer, although at that point in time, genetic identifiers hadn’t been discovered, they just knew it was passed down. She refused treatment, and died in her home, as my mom visited her daily, and watched her fade away.
My mom doesn’t identify as a breast cancer survivor because she doesn’t feel like she suffered like so many others have. She feels like she can’t identify with survivors who suffered through rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, through losing their balance, their hair, and their sense of security. And that’s ok, she doesn’t need to.
Everyone has their own relationship with the disease. Whether it’s treated like a distant memory, or something that is always with you, each person who has been affected by breast cancer is part of the larger network of support. Together we fight.
Jason, Sales Manager
As we enter the room lies still,
Unfortunately cancer has had a huge impact on my life. I’ve lost my mother, grandparents and several friends to this awful disease. The best way to share my story is through a poem my friend Nathan wrote, the night my mother passed away. We were in high school, and he had an assignment in the poetry unit due the next day. It is extremely emotional for me because it’s the real story of the final minutes I had with my mom.
silent tears roll down our faces.
All aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, brothers, sisters, and friends gather.
The room is dark except for a faint light seeping through the curtains onto her face.
Her that lies so still.
Her body is old and withered beyond her time.
Cancer has taken her hair and left her in a state of decay.
A priest enters and reads from his Bible.
He gives his condolences to the family and then departs.
The remaining few exit to allow the son to say his goodbyes.
He asks me to remain with him for comfort.
We kneel by her bed but we cannot speak,
for the words are choked by tears.
He grabs her hand as she lays there,
still alive, grasping for air.
The silence we endure evokes more pain than the incident itself.
The silence allows our mind to wander through an endless river of questions.
Why her? Why so young?
How could her life be ending?
How is it that I cannot help her?
Questions with answers we may never know.
At last the words come.
I love you mom.
I’ll always remember the real you before you became like this.
I Love you mom…Goodbye.
Stephanie, Events Manager
My family’s journey with breast cancer began with the diagnosis of my maternal grandmother in the mid-1970s, during a time when speaking the words ‘breast cancer’ was culturally taboo. This didn’t stop my grandmother from speaking to friends and family about her experience with the disease. Bright-souled, hilarious and warm, she drew hordes of friends and family as a support network that surrounded her with love through her last days a short 11 years later.
Breast cancer has been a part of my vocabulary since I was six years old. Didn’t everyone’s grandmother wear a wig and giggle about the fluff of hair that remained on their heads after rounds of treatment? As far as I knew, life was normal and good in our household. By the time I rounded the corner to eight years old, we lost my silly, sweet and playful grandmother.
My grandmother’s vibrant personality, love of community and optimistic view on life left a clear path for our family to follow; her now in our hearts instead of by our sides. A mother of four and (at the time) grandmother of four didn’t have the opportunity to see the legacy she created, and how deeply she’s impacted and empowered the lives of her now nine grandchildren and ever-growing family. She taught us how to fight with grace and giggle through darkness – strengths that were needed in the years ahead to fight the battle that has since diagnosed nine and taken the lives of three more women in our family.
To mark the 10 year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing, and to celebrate her legacy, our family stood united with our toes on the starting line of the Susan G. Komen Puget Sound Race for the Cure in Seattle with an army of 20,000 other participants by our side. We will not stand down to this disease. We will fight, hope and fundraise until we see the demise of breast cancer.
The finish line of each Race represents so much more than a painted mark on the ground. It represents another year of memories spent with those we love, a flood of memories of those we’ve lost, and another giant step forward in the fight against breast cancer as our fundraising fuels ground breaking research to find the cure(s). Each year we cross the finish line is another year we’re closer to ending our family’s journey with breast cancer.
Together we Race. Together we Romp. Together we will continue to fundraise for the cure! Join me in the fight at the 2015 Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Series and help stomp out breast cancer forever!
This is what makes events like the Tubbs Romp to Stomp so important. By attending, fundraising and donating to the Tubbs Romp to Stomp you are helping provide access to breast health care for underserved women in your community and funding global breast cancer research to find the cure(s). The Tubbs Romp to Stomp is As a National Partner of Susan G. Komen® and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation™ Tubbs Snowshoes has raised more than 2.8 million for Susan G. Komen® and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation since its inception in 2003.
As a National Partner of Susan G. Komen®, Tubbs Snowshoes will donate 100% of the donations from each U.S. Romp to Stomp event; and all event proceeds, less event costs and expenses, to Susan G. Komen® and its participating Affiliates in three U.S. markets, with a guaranteed minimum donation of $60,000 in 2014. We urge you to come out and join us for a great time, great exercise and celebrate the amazing and strong women who have conquered their fight against breast cancer, just like our families.