Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Every Three Minutes...

Every three minutes a person is diagnosed with breast cancer. This in a world of: wait-a-minute, give-me-a-minute, be-with-you-in-a-minute, and this-will-only-take-a-minute.

Sixty seconds multiplied by three is one hundred eighty seconds; that is all a woman has before her entire life is broadsided. Her drive home from the doctor, and the telephone calls to family, all will take longer than three minutes.

On August 13th I attended the Kickoff Breakfast for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in New York City. Hundreds of people were guests of the American Cancer Society. There were many speakers on the program but the first, a woman who spoke from her table not from the podium pulled me to the edge of my seat and kept me there as her story unfolded.

The woman’s voice was soft but strong, her name was Stephanie and she smiled as she spoke and her hair, a perfectly coiffed shoulder length wig made her appear younger than her years. Stephanie had grown children, one in Iraq and another living in New York City. Among other things she was an author with a book just released when her three minutes were up. Her orderly, well defined life was upended, and now she was a resident of Hope Lodge in New York City undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

As an author of newly released fiction, I was caught up in her heartbreaking story. I’ve written about breast cancer without being sure why. Now I know. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor I have something more than words invested in this battle. Women like my mother, my character, Hudson Catalina, and like Stephanie deserve our respect. They need advocates and their message must be spread across the planet.

Hope Starts With Us – is the slogan for the American Cancer Society’s 2008 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The message of Belly of the Whale is hope and survival. Together we will be in Central Park on October 19th under the Tent. Come walk with us. Every stride you take makes a difference.

Blog what you hear, see, think and feel…

Linda Merlino

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