Shannon Kmak

Posted by on Jan 24, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

Shannon Kmak

My name is Shannon Kmak.  Last year, I signed up for the 3-Day for a Cure at the urging of my friend.  My mom and her friend had walked in 2009, and it looked like fun – why not?

I remember feeling a bit guilty sending out my first fundraising letter.  I didn’t have any direct connection with breast cancer – or any cancer, for that matter.  Certainly, I had seen the effects of this disease on friends and co-workers, but when you’re removed form the day-to-day reality of treatment, you really have no idea of the true impact.  Who was I to ask people for money to support my “looks like fun” walk?

Then came May 9.

The day after Mother’s Day, and five days before my nephew’s 9th birthday.  The day my 32-year old sister, Ali Laws, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Suddenly, I felt the impact – the health impact, financial impact, relationship impact, spiritual impact.  It was personal.

Within 7 months of Ali’s diagnosis, she had a double mastectomy, four rounds of chemo, and reconstructive surgery to become cancer free and begin her new “normal”.  That sentence certainly sounds easier than what it was, but that is why I support the Komen organization.  Susan G. Komen for the Cure has supported so many advancements in treatment for this disease that now there is an over 95% survival rate for breast cancer when detected early.

When detected early.

I just had to say that again.  Ali felt that there was something wrong and pushed to have a mammogram.  Had she waited until she was 40, it would have been a much different story.  Let’s be honest, she may not have seen 40.

I cannot urge women enough – talk to your doctor about starting yearly mammograms now.  No, it’s not the most fun you’ll ever have – I would certainly rather be on a beach in Maui.  But, it’s not nearly as bad as you may have heard.  You’ll live.  I promise.  And, it’s better than the alternative.

I am surprised to see how many young fighters and survivors there are today.  It doesn’t matter if you have a history of breast cancer in your family – Ali and I didn’t.  Take control today, and call your doctor.

And, yes, I’ll see you on the walk again this year!  Blisters don’t even come close in comparison to chemo.  60 miles?  We can do that – and we will until the cure is found.

 

Donate to Shannon Today!!!

1 Comment

  1. Love you sister!!! Thank you for writing this and for walking!!! I’m excited to be walking with you this year!!!!

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