Friday, February 13, 2009

Sacramento Breast Cancer Resource Center

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Many people have been affected by the ravages of cancer. I was speaking with a friend of mine, Danielle, and we were talking about how her Mom beat breast cancer. However, now her Aunt has breast cancer as well. Breast cancer is a pervasive disease, and seems to be getting worse.

I had the privilege of meeting with Gina Andrews, and Gina is a breast cancer survivor. What's most amazing is that Gina was diagnosed when she was 29 when the cancer was diagnosed! I often like to use the phrase: "fight or die". Gina just did that, but she went one step further. Gina started Sacramento Breast Cancer Resource Center, which is a non-profit designed to "foster hope and inspiration among women facing breast cancer".

Please take a moment to read Gina's story below, and, if you are an agent looking for a non-profit to pay it forward to, please support Gina Andrews and the Sacramento Breast Cancer Resource Center. Gina turned a negative experience like breast cancer into a positive - the positive is called the Sacramento Breast cancer Resource Center:

Breast Cancer is not hereditary, racial, or age specific. It does not discriminate on any of these things. Before my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer I believed that Asian people were less at risk for it. Then when I was 29 I thought there was no way this lump is cancer, “I’m too young for cancer.” The first thing people ask me when I tell them I’m a breast cancer survivor is “ did someone in your family have it”…and then when I say yes my mom is a 12 year survivor “oh I see”, as if the reason why I got cancer is because it’s a family disease.

There are many young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer that have no family history. And though this is not an accurate description of the world, the young survivor support group I attend averages 10 attendees and 4 of those are Asian. The reality is that cancer is none of these myths. It is completely nondiscriminatory. It can and will attack anyone regardless of family history, age, or ethnicity.

According to the American Cancer Society, only about 5% to 10% of all cancers are the inherited type. And according to the National Cancer Institute one in every 229 women between the ages of 30 and 39 will be diagnosed with breast cancer within the next 10 years. My mother and I both had cancer. My mom was diagnosed at the age of 47 and I was diagnosed at the age of 29. Both of us were diagnosed at early ages but the cancers we had were completely different, and I tested negative for the BRCA, the only known cancer gene.

These myths of breast cancer need to be changed. Because people believe they are not at high risk for breast cancer, they are disregarding the lumps they find in their breast. As a result of this disregard the disease can be found at a later and more deadly stage.

Gina's organization is having a fundraiser here in Sacramento tonight at 7:30 at the "Lounge on 20", click here for more info. If you are an agent or a charity, please join Agentspayingforward.com. There are many great causes that I want to help, so please feel free to contact me at tomash@surewest.net. I'll be happy to include your information in this blog. We are a community, and we all need to work together to help great people do great work.

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