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Monday, October 17, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Quilting For A Cure

There is a good chance that you area aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  You may be one that looks the other way, but there are some serious benefits of having a month that increases awareness of breast cancer.
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If my memory serves, it seems that 25 years ago Mammograms were available but many woman did not get mammograms, and ignored the signs of Breast Cancer.  By the time they were diagnosed, there wasn't much that Doctors could do to treat them.  Sadly, my sisters' Mother-in-Law died in her 50's by ignoring the opportunities for early diagnosis and treatment.  Yet, it was over 40 years ago that a distant cousin, with small kids, was diagnosed, treated, and she is still alive today!  And, on a positive perspective, while not fun, many that are diagnosed with breast cancer now survive....especially if they are diagnosed early!  To clarify, it is critical for self-exams, annual mammograms, and early treatment!

Personally, I have had multiple biopsy surgeries, fortunately all benign (no cancer).  But I can understand the scare when a lump is detected, or an abnormal mammogram or sonogram triggers a call from a doctor.  Still, these tests and calls help to determine cancer early, when it can be treated, thus I value and encourage regular mammograms for anyone of an age that should be checked.  And, definitely for those that detect a lump, but are considered too young for regular mammograms.

Sadly, a young woman (23) that works at a local quilt shop detected a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Fortunately, it was detected and is being treated and signs are good that she'll win the battle with breast cancer.  But this is an example that breast cancer can attack at any age.  And, to clarify, breast cancer doesn't just impact woman, as there are also many men that have been diagnosed with breast cancer!

The odds are high that if you are reading this you know someone that has had breast cancer or is currently fighting it.  I feel lucky that while I've had lumps, I've never had breast cancer.  Still, breast cancer awareness is something I'm passionate about.

When I turned 50 I set a personal goal to raise $50k to help fight breast cancer.  I held a birthday party (aka quilt sew-cial) where my quilty friends helped to make quilts that were later used as raffle and silent auction items, in a variety of fundraisers that I either organized or assisted in.  Over the year, ~$75,000 was raised and donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  And, several quilts were also used to help raise additional funds, in years following my 50th birthday.

While there are many wonderful non-profit organizations, which I support, that are focused on fighting breast cancer, there are a few aspects about Susan G. Komen that I'd like to increase awareness of.

If you know of anyone that doesn't have medical insurance, or sufficient coverage, Susan G. Komen will pay to have those in need of a mammogram or treatment get such care.  All they need to do is simply call their nearest office of Susan G. Komen and they'll arrange for services with a nearby medical source.  This is something that we all need to increase awareness of as many go without mammograms, or treatment, as they can't afford it.  Yet, all they need to do is contact their nearest Komen office and the costs will be taken care of.

Ok, here are some fun insights that also promote breast cancer awareness:

Sharon (Craizee Corners) is hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness week, with guest bloggers and a lot of inspiration.  I hope you can hop on over and visit Craizee Corners.

Michele (With Heart and Hands) has a great post, that was written quite some time ago,  with insights on a variety of free patterns for quilts and blocks that recognize breast cancer awareness.  This is a great post and if you are not familiar with it, I hope you'll check it out.

Please take time to schedule your mammogram, if you are not currrent.  Please take time to chat with your friends, to ensure they are current with their mammograms.  And, if you know someone that is going thru treatment, please give them a big quilty hug from SewCalGal.

Ok, I'd like to hear what you are doing to help increase awareness of breast cancer?  Are you current with your mammograms (if not, I hope you'll schedule yours soon).


Barb said...

This is such useful information.

You certainly have your hands in a lot of goodness around the world. YOu are one amazing person!!

Sara said...

Wonderful post. Lots of breast cancer in my family so I am very careful to keep up with the self exams and mammos. I have been part of 2 quilts made by friends that were donated to a local charity to assist women getting treatment.

Sarah said...

Amazing post! And what an awesome goal that you have achieved in donations.

Recently I had a lump scare, but luckily it turned out to be a crazy lymph node acting up. My goal in raising awareness, which will hopefully be reached in three weeks, is to raise enough money to be able to participate in the 3-day for the cure. 60 miles in 3 days! If these brave women who are diagnosed with breast cancer can go through chemo, then I can walk 60 miles! Heck there are women who walk those miles while going through treatment!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Just did fund raising and walked the 5K Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Saturday with my husband, son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law on Saturday. Our team raised over $1000! I am a 25 year breast cancer survivor!!! Thank you for your great message!

Josie McRazie said...

Great patterns! My best friends sister is currently going through chemo and we have a benefit scheduled for her for Jan. Thought about doing a quilt to raffle, but was not sure if I coudl get it finished with such short notice.

JonHebert said...
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Betty said...

I am a breast cancer survivor. My niece's daughter Tara (16) started a web site a few years ago to sell her hand made jewelry with the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen foundation. Her best friend's mother had passed away from breast cancer and she wanted to do something to help fight the disease. Her web site is www.pinkcures.com. She also accepts donations of items that she auctions off to help raise money. Some of my quilting friends and I have donated quilts for her auctions. You may publish her web site address on your blog if you like.

Terrie Sandelin said...

What an incredible goal you set and then surpassed! Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to raise awareness!!

Regina said...

I am currently working on a smaller scale fundraiser and quilt block collection in my mom's memory to make comfort quilts for the chemo center that treated her, as well as another center closer to my home. We launched "4Patches4Hope" just 2 weeks ago, and already have raised $75 and collected nearly 50 4 patches, just through internet "word of mouth". It feels good to help - even in a small way.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing...such good information. And...yes I've had the squisher exam...all is well :)