A Message of Gratitude from Suzanne Corson, Executive Director of Komen CSNJ
The MORE THAN PINK Walk has always been my favorite day of the year. It’s the culmination of the work we do in the community for the fight against breast cancer. This year’s Walk was amazing, filled with plenty of sunshine, moments of celebration, remembrance and love. We are truly so grateful for your support and passion to make this event an incredible success.
Over 4,000 people came together on this chilly November morning for one reason: to end breast cancer for good. And the impact is overwhelming. We’re just about to reach our fundraising goal of $650,000 — money that provides life-saving services in central and southern New Jersey, including free mammograms, treatment assistance, transportation assistance, patient navigation and so much more.
This year’s event was especially meaningful and rewarding for me. I am proud to say that I attended this event for the first time as a cancer survivor.
In June of this year, I was diagnosed with stage two colon cancer. I was 41, in shock and incredibly scared — but I knew I was very lucky. My cancer journey could have looked much differently. As the Executive Director of Komen CSNJ, I have learned and preached the importance of taking control of your own health, getting screened and having a team of healthcare professionals that you are comfortable with and understand. My colorectal surgeon pushed me to get a colonoscopy, years before it’s recommended, and that truly saved my life. My colon cancer was found before it had the chance to spread.
I can’t stress the importance of annual screenings enough. Talk with your doctor. Learn from your family members about health history. Speak up when something doesn’t seem right with your body.
Because of the people that I have met through my nearly eight years at Komen CSNJ, I knew I could beat this disease. While undergoing surgery and chemotherapy treatment, I recalled the stories that countless women and men have shared with me of their own journeys through diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. Those stories inspired me to stay strong and focused.
I completed four rounds of chemotherapy on Tuesday, October 29, just days before the MORE THAN PINK Walk. On Walk Day, I was overcome with emotion and gratitude. Without realizing it, every one of the 4,000 people in attendance at Six Flags Great Adventure motivated me to come out on the other side as a thriving survivor. For that, I am so thankful to each and every one of you.
In spite of my cancer diagnosis — or maybe because of it — I have to say that 2019 has been incredible. This diagnosis has changed my life, and has encouraged me to fight hard against cancer in both my personal and professional lives. Each year, we push forward to our Bold Goal to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in this country by half by 2026.
Once again, we thank you. Komen CSNJ is incredibly appreciative of your generosity every year. We look forward to seeing you in 2020!