october is breast cancer awareness month

Allan and I, along with many readers of both wmtc and JoS, have been raising money for two friends of ours, Cat and Tim Baskin. Cathy has breast cancer - and no health insurance - and they need a used car so she can get to chemo treatments and doctor appointments.

All this time, I didn't even realize that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Most of our lives have been affected by cancer in some way - either surviving it ourselves, having a friend or family member survive it, or losing someone we love (or someone we know) to the dreaded disease. Breast cancer has its own special place in our fears. Every adult woman I know is terrified of getting breast cancer.

My first personal experience with breast cancer was in 1996, when a close friend of mine, 10 years older than me, discovered a lump in her breast while putting on lotion after a shower.

She was immediately diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer, and soon had a mastectomy. The surgery revealed her breast was riddled with malignant tumours, which had all appeared within a week or two. She had had a clean mammogram six months earlier. I was 35 years old, and it completely freaked me out.

My friend had "good" health insurance - what's considered good insurance in the US - but she still had to fight her HMO every step of the way to obtain the coverage she was entitled to. No fun any time, but especially difficult when you are sick and fatigued from treatments, and worried about dying before you see the age of 50.

Cat and Tim Baskin don't have health insurance. Tim is self-employed, and their health insurance had always been through Cathy's job as a nurse. She was in a very bad car accident some years ago, which ended her nursing career, and so ended their health insurance.

We are trying to make life a tiny bit easier for our friend, and maybe trying to make ourselves feel better, too. If you haven't already seen the video of Cat on her local news station, it's here. Please watch. More information is here.

The way this pledge drive is set up, if we don't meet our goal, no money is donated. So it's all or nothing. Right now we're $871 away.

I was hoping we could reach $4,000 - $700 more than the target - so Tim and Cathy could have a bit extra for gas or maintenance or whatever they needed. But now I see that may have been unrealistic, and I'll be very happy to reach the $3301 goal.

If your life has been affected by cancer, please consider donating in honour of that experience. As little as $10 will make a difference. Click here to pledge a donation.


John F said...

Keep posting, L-Girl! You melted MY heart of stone, and that takes some doing! :-)

L-girl said...

We have raised $100 more since I posted this!!!

L-girl said...

John F, thank you. Somehow I doubt you have a heart of stone, but I am glad this is having some effect.

A side note that I didn't want to include in the main post, about my friend who had breast cancer.

This woman and her partner had tried for a long time to have a baby. She lost a first pregnancy, then a second pregnancy had a horrible amnio result - the baby would have been born dead or died within minutes of birth. She had to terminate the pregnancy in the 5th month (the procedure that has been criminalized!). She was absolutely devastated. I truly feared she might kill herself.

Eventually she and her man came around and decided to adopt. They didn't care what the colour or ethnicity of the baby was, but they did want an infant. They wanted to know the birth parents and if possible be present at the birth.

This was a long and very expensive process, but they succeeded in finding a young couple who were pregnant and wanted to place their child for adoption.

Only weeks after getting this news, she found the lump. She was still in chemo when the baby was born.

John F said...

May I ask: did your friend from 1996 survive? I read the post carefully, and you didn't indicate that she had passed away. I want to believe that she and her partner are out there somewhere, raising their child.

My most recent experience with cancer came this last year, when my stepmother was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, she passed away on August 11 at age 48. I flew to Vancouver to help my father deal with the immediate aftermath. Now that I'm back home, we are in email and phone contact a few times per week.

L-girl said...

John, I'm sorry for the loss of your stepmother.

My (former) friend is indeed alive and as far as I know they are a happy family of three. Unfortunately we are no longer friends, but we have a close mutual friend, so I know I would have heard if there was a recurrence.

L-girl said...

I want to direct attention to something Amy said here: Everyone should do it again if they can. I figure if everyone does it twice, it will be really easy to meet the goal. Bring lunch instead of buying a sandwich and a soda one day, and you can add to the total.

David Cho said...

Thanks for the very touching post. You probably know that my own mother died of cancer.

John said...

Thanks for the very touching post. We must avoid the cancer. It is very Sensible month.

L-girl said...

David, I did remember that. Thanks for your thoughts.