An estimated one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer across the course of her lifetime. On average, a woman dies from breast cancer every 13 minutes. Support for the disease heightens during October because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time to show recognition for victims and raise awareness for the disease. Support for breast cancer comes in many ways. The school recognizes the many women who go through this disease at themed sporting events, at halftime announcements of these games and through various fundraisers. Some athletes that participate in these games have a personal connection to the cause. Senior Bria King, a member of the varsity volleyball team, has a direct connection to breast cancer, as her mother was diagnosed in Jan. 2017, motivating King’s performance on the court.
“The pink game has a strong meaning for me,” King said. “I’m playing for my mom. This is for my mom and other people fighting the battle she fought.”
King’s mother is now cancer-free. King vividly remembers the day the doctor called and released the results. “It was the greatest news,” King said. “I felt like this giant weight had been lifted off my family’s shoulders.”
Cancer is one of those words that may seem distant and scary, but the reality is that this disease, specifically breast cancer, is prevalent in the lives of many students at the school, whether they make it known or not. Junior Matthew Buckingham’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last March, something he never thought would be apart of his life.
“You hear about cancer all the time,” Buckingham said. “But you don’t think much of it until it affects you personally.”
Buckingham’s mother is now in remission. Friends and family supported the Buckingham family along the way, culminating with a celebration following her final round of chemotherapy. “Before her last chemo treatment, we had a send-off for her,” Buckingham said. “My sister made signs and we had a bunch of gifts for her.”
Senior Cassidy Poske is among the students who went through her mother’s fight against breast cancer. Her mom is now almost seven years cancer-free, but Poske still remembers the day her mom was diagnosed.
“I went in my room and just cried,” Poske said. “I was angry because I didn’t understand why my mom got [breast cancer].”
The effects of fighting breast cancer vary from woman to woman and definitely can have an impact on the loved ones surrounding the woman diagnosed. With enough strength and support from those around them, victims of breast cancer are able to fight the sickness and come back stronger. It can be scary finding out that a loved one has cancer, and many emotions come from this realization, making it difficult to immediately deal with the news.
“Don’t look up anything on the internet,” Poske said. “Talking to people is super helpful. It’s better to hear straight from your mom or family.”
While the immediate emotions may be difficult to cope with, it’s important to be present for those in need of support.
“There’s not much you can do but be there for [and support] her,” Buckingham said. “Spending time with her [throughout the process] goes a long way.”
Photo Contributed by Matthew Buckingham.