Aletha Anderson

Breast cancer, and how it impacts women without warning, was not on my mind, until I was invited to an information session with a Komen affiliate. They were signing up volunteers for the then Race for the Cure18 years ago.  A breast cancer surgeon introduced one of her patients, who was in treatment at the time. That woman was compelling because she told her story so simply – she was working, living her life, gardening as a hobby – when it was all disrupted by a breast cancer diagnosis. Every woman in the room could imagine herself in this woman’s shoes. The greatest risk factor of getting breast cancer is being a woman and getting older.

As a volunteer with Komen you gain far more than you give, which has been true for me in Colorado, California and now Oregon. I have met women and men who have taught me much about life, such as how to be resilient, how to find joy no matter what, how to be relentlessly persistent, how to fight, how to have grace. These people were breast cancer survivors, Forever Fighters, co-survivors, Komen staff members, other volunteers. We are connected by a disease that still impacts too many people each year, and by the Komen organization that fights to make the disease less powerful.

Please get involved in the local Komen work, because you are needed and have skills and time that are useful. Donate money if that works better for you. There are individuals and their families here in Oregon and SW Washington who will benefit from your support of Komen.

By Aletha Anderson

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