Tick…..Tick….Tick. Interesting, I hadn’t noticed the clock in the hallway of the hospital being so loud before. Several of us sat outside Linda’s room, knowing that tonight was probably the night. The door opened and Dennis’ white face shared the news even before he spoke a word.
“She’s gone; she went very peacefully,” Dennis said. We all went in, said the Our Father, then quietly moved back into the hallway to allow the hospital people to do what they needed to do. After Linda’s initial breast cancer diagnosis four years prior and the journey with her through the metastasis, its ups and downs, having her go “home to heaven” was actually a relief for us. The following days, preparing the funeral kept us busy, but we knew that Dennis’ life would now be very different without Linda….ours too. I told Dennis that I really wanted to help in this breast cancer fight, and that maybe someday God would show me how to do that.
Several of us have kept in touch since that day, each of us handling Linda’s death in our own way. As an IT Project Manager for Dow Chemical, I was traveling overseas a lot, thinking about Linda and many other friends and family that have experienced a similar “breast cancer journey”. But, it’s now more than 9 years since that day. Dennis is newly married and he just e-mailed me…guess what? His new wife, Sally, has breast cancer.
WHAT????!!!!! This can’t be true!!! I could feel my heart sink immediately. How could this happen again? Since my husband, Rick, and I had moved to Colorado a few months ago, we were just starting to get into the swing of Colorado and figuring out what my new “passion” should be in our retirement. I knew that God’s timing is impeccable; I think this was definitely a sign.
So, the next day, I started doing some web searching. How could I help with breast cancer? There are SO many organizations out there….which is the right one? I reached out to several, but quickly realized that the ONLY one doing any real “root cause research” for stopping breast cancer in its tracks is the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF). I had been receiving e-mails about breast cancer study participation through their Army of Women program for several years, but didn’t really know that the Army of Women is program to help DSLRF connect researchers with women (and men) who can allow the research objectives to be met more quickly and efficiently than traditional research study participation methods.
So, it started with an e-mail to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, explaining my recent retirement and asking if there was anything I could do to help. That’s all it took! I’m now happily engaged with Dr. Love’s organization as their DSLRF Colorado Volunteer Team Leader. We are now looking at strategic planning for sharing the Foundaiton’s objectives in Colorado….recruiting Army of Women participants, encouraging women to participate in theHealth of Women Study (HOW) and doing fundraising to support DSLRF research.
I am now learning that I could have been making a difference, even while I was working….and you can too. Sharing information about DSLRF to my Facebook friends, telling my friends about the Army of Women and the Health of Women Study are three simple ways that any person can be part of this mission! It’s easy….just share the www.dslrf.org website with them and they can take the ball from there.
We’ve all heard the stats…..108 women die every day from breast cancer….how WONDERFUL would it be to reduce that number to ZERO! How many families would have more Moms, more Aunts, more Sisters to grow old with….wouldn’t that be amazing? Just ask me, I’ll tell you how we can make it happen together!
This is how I Act with Love!
DSLRF Colorado Volunteer Team Leader