I have been blessed.
Of the 209,060 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, I have not been one. So far.
Of the 3 million women who are living with breast cancer as I write this, I am not one.
My daughter, as most of you know, was not so lucky. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. (You can read her story here.) But even she has been blessed, because now, over four years later, she is cancer-free. She paid a very high price and fought an extremely grueling battle, but she won. And after all she has done, her odds of a recurrence is about 1%, much lower than mine of being diagnosed in my lifetime.
This is a post in my on-going series during October, posted in observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I’m writing today to introduce you to an amazing woman. Her name is Kelly Corrigan. In 2004, this 36-year-old mother of two was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. She had discovered a lump that turned out to be 7 centimeters, about the size of a golf ball.
She underwent treatment, documenting it in photographs and memoir. Since finishing her treatment, Kelly has dedicated herself to getting the word out about breast cancer, offering support to those who have it and to those who love someone who has been diagnosed. She wrote a wonderful (and, amazingly, entertaining) book, has made appearances on television, given speeches, created web sites, and blogged. And she has done all of this in an uplifting, positive way.
My daughter Lisa was inspired and strengthened by Kelly’s words, as was I. If you have breast cancer, or you know someone who does, I cannot recommend Kelly Corrigan’s book, The Middle Place, strongly enough. Heck even if you don’t, read this book. It is a terrific book no matter what your situation. I promise you will be anything but brought down by it.
Here’s a tiny taste:
“…I called home to tell my parents that I had cancer.
And that’s what this whole thing is about. Calling home. Instinctively. Even when all the paperwork—a marriage license, a notarized deed, two birth certificates, and seven years of tax returns—clearly indicates you’re an adult, but all the same, there you are, clutching the phone and thanking God that you’re still somebody’s daughter.”
Kelly created this web site, Circus of Cancer, to help us step up and support a friend with breast cancer. There is an incredible “how-to” section that answers the question we all have: “What can I do?”
You will also find an amazing photo-journey of Kelly’s own battle from start to finish.
Kelly Corrigan is one of our Superheroes. Thank you, Kelly.
And now, my friends, meet Kelly Corrigan.