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Raising awareness for breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer is an illness that has impacted many families including my own
Sarah Baker. (File photo)

As we welcome the crisp air and bright colours of the fall leaves in October many of us will also be recognizing and observing some of the holidays that fall within the month.

While most will only be recognizing holidays such as Thanksgiving and Halloween, others, including myself, will also be recognizing October as the month for Breast Cancer Awareness.

The first time I really heard or thought about breast cancer specifically was when I was in the fourth grade and watched my mom, the strongest and most inspirational woman I know, fight for her life after being diagnosed with it.

When my mom was first diagnosed, the community tried to distract us as much as possible to make us think that everything was fine and normal; but in some regards, it did the complete opposite.

Schools don’t usually host your birthday party or make your school lunches every day. Relatives like your Oma don’t come to live with you in order to take care of the family while your parents are away. Classmates don’t look at you with pity and grief asking how your mom is doing or if it is true that she is dying.

“Is your mom dying,” is a question I actually got asked quite often. I would usually respond by saying, “She is in the hospital being cared for by so many people and I don’t think she is.”

However, there were times when that thought wasn’t the case.

Times when I went to the hospital with my dad to pick her up or see her and she was so sick she couldn’t get out of bed or it seemed like she could barely breathe.

There were times, as well, that she would be home and the people around me would make it very obvious that something wasn’t right.

One of these times was when a friend came over to the house when my mom was home from the hospital for a bit.

At the time Mom had no hair whatsoever; absolutely everything was gone including her eyebrows and eyelashes. So when my friend saw her come into the living room, she screamed and ran out of the house. The sight of my mom absolutely terrified her.

I have to admit, though, it wasn’t until I was older that I would really had conversations with Mom which led me to realize how serious her cancer was.

I would find out that when she had breast cancer she only had a 20 per cent chance of surviving and that Oma was there so in case she did pass away, we would go to live with her.

To this day, my Mom sometimes wonders why in the group of women she was treated with, she is the only one still alive.

I really wanted to write this column to raise awareness because my family isn’t the only one that has been impacted by the illness.

The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime and one in 34 will die from it.

As for Mom, she has now been in remission for many years and is one of the lucky ones. However, not a year goes by that my family doesn’t remember when life wasn’t so easy.

That is why during Breast Cancer Awareness Month I try to always incorporate something pink. Pink is recognized as the ribbon colour for breast cancer and a symbol of hope.

For more information on Breast Cancer Awareness Month and general facts about breast cancer, I recommend checking out the Canadian Cancer Society’s website



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Sarah Baker

About the Author: Sarah Baker

I joined Black Press in March 2023 and am looking forward to sharing stories about the local communities.
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