Tuesday, October 6, 2009

13 Years Ago

Fifteen years ago, around this time of year, my best friend's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, we were in sixth grade. I didn't really get what breat cancer was. In fact, I really don't think I actually knew it was breast cancer until two years later. I just knew that she was sick. Really sick.

Even through her sickness, for the next two years, after having to quit her job, my second mom dove in head first at spending every minute she could with her daughter. And those minutes that she was laid up due to chemo, Lauren was there, laying in the bed next to her.

I remember her leading a fundraiser at our school in eighth grade. She would come on during the morning announcements over the intercom to give a progress report. She dubbed herself, "The Morning Bird." I can still hear her joyful voice.

At first, I thought of her sickness as just something semi-severe. Like chronic bronchitis or something. You know, something that she'd just get over soon.

That never happened.

Thirteen years ago, at the end of February, my best friend's mom lost her battle. I remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. They came and got Lauren out of class. A few minutes later, we (her five closest friends) were called out of class. We knew this couldn't be good.

They sat us down in the office and told us what was going on. We cried and hugged and sent Lauren on her way. None of us could even think about class or math or science at that moment. We were given the option to not go back to class, considering the school day was more than halfway over.

I remember the visitation. The funeral. The burial. The memorial service at the school.

Then, breast cancer, at least to me, wasn't really as widespread or well known as it is today. However, just in the past 10 years, I could use up all digits on my hands and feet and still not touch all the people that I know that have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by breast cancer.

A few friends' mothers fought the battle in high school and won. Another friend's mom died our junior year of college, and recently she's taken precautions to prevent herself from being diagnosed with the same disease. Another friend that I met when I moved to Birmingham has done the same thing after a scare a couple of years ago.

For more information and statistics about breast cancer, click here.

I've come to love the month of October over the recent years. Not only because the weather starts to get cooler or because of Halloween or because this guy was born. (And not because it's National Sarcastics Appreciation Month either. Appreciate me, mkay?) It's because it's a whole month, a whole 31 days devoted to bringing awareness about breast cancer and raising funds to support the cause.

The Samford University volleyball team is chipping in this year, in support of a special person close to some members of the team. On Oct. 18, they will host a Dig Pink match to celebrate the culmination of a fundraising effort. (This also happens to be the biggest match of the year against College of Charleston, one of our toughest opponents, the team that handed us our first of only two conference losses last season. So if you're in the area, come out and support Breast Cancer Research and the Samford Bulldogs!)

If you haven't yet given and want to give, or if you feel so inclined to, I'd love for you to give, and it would be even better if you'd partner with the Samford volleyball team. If you'd like to help out, click here, or on the button on the sidebar.

Honor someone special with your gift. Save a life.

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