When Breast Cancer Became Personal: What This Cause Means To Me
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Last year, as a blogger for Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey, I personally had no connection to this disease. I wasn’t blogging to heal, I wasn’t blogging for me. I was blogging for the sake of others, to spread the Susan G. Komen mission.
Yet, It didn’t make it any more difficult for me to blog, for me to share stories of survivors. I have always wanted to make a difference, and as I became more in-tune with what Susan G. Komen stood for, I saw firsthand the difference I was making. I loved that I was giving a voice to survivors, to doctors, to business-owners who were either personally impacted by breast cancer or giving back to the Komen cause. The last year has been one of the most rewarding and eye-opening, and I credit much of that to my blogging experience with Susan G. Komen.
It became even more eye-opening when breast cancer became personal. Breast cancer became personal to me this winter, when I saw a tweet from a family friend that at this point I call a cousin, saying:
“Everyone keep my mom in your prayers, she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.”
In that instant, my world stopped.
I remember fumbling through my phone to find the phone number of my little brother and calling him, hearing his “what” on the other side of the line, and me simply saying,
“Check Jack’s Twitter.”
I could hear the question in his voice.
My voice cracked.
“Just check it. NOW.”
I could hear his fingers typing, and then the broken “Oh, god.”
This realization hit both of us hard. This was someone we loved, someone we grew up with by our sides, and she had breast cancer.
This woman was (and is) the world to me. She has been a constant in my life since I was a little girl, more of an aunt than some of my biological aunts are. She understands me, she knows me down to my very core, and my love for her is boundless. I got goosebumps as I realized what I have been writing about for the last few months is now a reality for someone close to me.
That is the day that breast cancer became personal. And that is a day that I will never forget. Although my aunt is thankfully doing well, there were a few times of uncertainty. I wanted to be there for her sons, I wanted to be there for her, but I know her well enough to know that space was what she needed. I sent the occasional text to her son, asking how she was doing, but besides that, I gave her space, occasionally called, and prayed for her every single day.
The fight against breast cancer now symbolizes my aunt, my courageous aunt that is a prime example of fight and resilience. I never could have imagined that this mission was going to become personal. Yet, it did. And it gave me a whole new perspective on life and on breast cancer.
Olivia Bonevento is a featured guest blogger for Komen CSNJ. She lives at the Jersey Shore and is currently a student at a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. Read more about Olivia on her personal blog — oliviabonevento.wordpress.com.