When my daughter Katie was five, I promised her that I would do all that I could to stop breast cancer before she grew up. Today, Katie is a 19-year-old about to return home for the summer following her first year at college.
Over the past 14 years, I have had two priorities: raising my daughter to become the woman she wants to be, and ending breast cancer. Iâ€™m proud to say that my partner and I excelled on the first front. The second goal has not yet been achieved, but I do believe it will happen in my lifetime. Every promise I made to Katie I have always kept, and Iâ€™m not going to let her down. How could I? That image of her five-year-old faceâ€“and her belief and trust in meâ€” is embedded in my mind.
With Motherâ€™s Day just around the corner, Iâ€™ve found myself thinking even more about what it means to raise a child, to obtain personal goals, to become the best person one can be. Iâ€™ve heard so many women say that when the terror that surged inside of them after they first heard the words â€œbreast cancerâ€ finally subsided, what they were left with was a greater appreciation for the people they love, an understanding of how important it is to be there for oneâ€™s children, and the need to take the time to revel in the small moments that so easily get lost in the business of our day-to-day lives.
Iâ€™ve also been thinking about the mothers who are not here to celebrate this day because their lives were cut short by breast cancer. Itâ€™s impossible to fill the void that these women have left behind. But there is something that we can do to honor them: continue the work that is necessary to end breast cancer in our lifetimes.
As you probably know, the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is dedicated to ending breast cancer. I firmly believe that the intraductal approach to the breast, which allows us to get to where cancer starts inside the breast duct, is what will allow us to achieve that goal. Thatâ€™s why the intraductal approach has been the focus of my work and that of the Foundationâ€™s for the past ten years. And the more we learn, the more convinced I become that we are on the right track.
This Motherâ€™s Day, I hope you will consider honoring a woman you know with a gift to the Foundation to support our research efforts. Your gift can be in honor or in memory of your own mother, stepmother, foster mom, or aunt. It could be in honor of someone elseâ€™s mother, or a woman who was like a mother to you. Or it could be in honor of a little girl who will one day be a mom. Wouldnâ€™t it be amazing if we could keep every little girl from ever having to worry about breast cancer? I know that doing so is within our reach. You can learn more about how to honor a woman you know here.
We will be placing the names of all the women and girls you honor on a special Motherâ€™s Day page on our website.
Remember when you were little and you believed your parents knew everything and could do the impossible? Along the way Katie learned that I donâ€™t know everything. But I know that one day she will know that curing breast cancer is possible. A promise is a promise.