(Originally posted October 2012)
On a very recent Virgin flight from JFK to LAX, I found myself engrossed in an episode of Parenthood on NBC. In past weeks, one of the main characters had been diagnosed with breast cancer (it is October after all when the world goes pink) and in this show, she was telling her family of her diagnosis and plans for treatment. Creative direction showed her talking but her words were not heard - just a bed of music and the look on everyone's faces. I didn't need to hear her words - I could see the tension in her face, the tears in her eyes and the strain in her appearance and knew exactly what she was saying and feeling - because those were my words. 6 years ago, I lived through the same anxiety in revealing to many of you that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and my course of treatment that lay ahead. As I sat on the flight, I cried in my seat as I was transported back in time.
In the years since, I have chosen to send an annual reminder of the best form of prevention - monthly self-exams and annual mamming of your grams. Research continues to be funded, dollars raised, awareness is at an all-time high - but the fact remains that the diagnosis statistics remain the same. 1 in 8. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. So many of you on the list have been touched by this disease and I am so honored that you share your stories, your scares, your treatments and your losses with me.
So the annual prescription is the same:
* Make an appointment for a mammogram
* Keep your appointment (men, encourage and enable the women in your life to keep their appointment)
* Take two Advil before and buy yourself a gift after
* Should you get bad news - empower yourself with knowledge, surround yourself with a support system and fight - know your options
* Encourage all of the women in your life to do the same