Greetings from Atlanta, GA and the 10th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer.
I am so honored to be here representing LIVESTRONG. This is an incredible opportunity to share a number of programs such as LIVESTRONG at School and services like Survivor Care, and Sharing Hope that pertain specifically to this amazing group of young women.
I want to tell you a bit about my experience here so far. I have been gratified by the number of women who have stopped by the booth to thank LIVESTRONG for providing the Guidebook. Noting that it was invaluable during their journey.
I have been heartbroken by the number of women who wish that their doctor had discussed fertility and Sharing Hope with them prior to treatment.
And I have been rendered speechless by the young mothers who want information on LIVESTRONG at School, and our collaboration with PBS’s Arthur because they need help discussing their cancer diagnosis with their children.
I can never understand it when people tell me that I’m an ‘inspiration’ to them, I just don’t get it. I’m simply doing what I have to do. But with each and every one of these women that I’ve met so far, all I can think of is how inspiring they all are. I am inspired, and also touched with sadness knowing all too well what some of my fellow attendees have endured.
During the opening session on Saturday morning, we paused for a moment of silence in honor of those that we have lost during the past year. The silence was deafening.
The days here have been filled with knowing smiles, caring touches and lots, and lots of fanning from hot flashes. Yup, as one speaker noted, we are all sisters in a sorority with the worst kind of initiation process.
The truth is that cancer sucks, plain and simple. It sucks that there are 700 young women at this conference right now who have been diagnosed with this horrible disease. Yet we celebrate life, we live strong, specifically with a dance party on Saturday night. We,re just simply doing what we have to do. We have to do ‘the chicken dance’.
We’re going to do ‘the chicken dance’ in honor of all of the weddings we hope to attend in the future, of our children, friends, maybe even our own. Attitude is everything.
Thank you to the Young Survivor Coalition, and Living Beyond Breast Cancer for organzing this incredible event. Thank you to the other sponsors, and to those of you who donate to LIVESTRONG and made our support of this conference possible. And most importantly, thank you to my fellow survivors for standing proud, sharing your stories, and living strong. You are an inspiration.