Last week, Dr. Susan Love, a leading breast cancer researcher, officially launched the Love/Avon Army of Women, an organization on a mission to find a cure for breast cancer. Rather than using research that focuses on killing cancer cells, this initiative will encourage research that focuses on what causes breast cancer by uniting a goal of one million women with researchers to end breast cancer in our lifetime.
As I read more about this study, I quickly realized the need for all of us to step up and help so we can be the generation that stops breast cancer forever. Breast cancer research is often focused on killing tumor cells. Much less attention is paid to how cancer starts and how to prevent it. If you just look at diseased tissue, you don’t know the cause. You need to look at healthy women to compare the tissue and find the cause (this is where we can help). The problem in the past is that researchers felt that it would be difficult to get healthy women to cooperate in this type of a study. Thanks to Dr. Love, researchers are now closing that barrier and are partnering women with scientists across the country.
So how do you participate? You log on to www.armyofwomen.org and sign up. The Army of Women staff notify volunteers via email about studies in your area. You may be contacted to donate blood, urine, saliva, breast fluid or breast tissue. You decide what studies you want to participate in. You are not obligated at any time to participate.
As Charlotte wrapped up the Susan G Komen race, we wanted to highlight another local warrior who is fighting breast cancer in our community – Jen Pagani. This came in from her dear friend, Courtney Clark:
It is Jen’s magnetic smile you notice first. You simply cannot miss it, nor can you escape its attraction. Despite the physical horrors of the last 16 months (Jen was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in July 2007), and the impact chemo, radiation, surgeries, and all the associated “side effects” have had, Jen exudes health and wellness. It is as simple as that. She glows. It is an aura. And like that smile, the aura captivates you.
And I would venture to guess, she is still surprised by this.
The most devoted husband and wife team I have ever known, Jen and Joe have two precious boys, Rocco (3) and Luca (1). They are surrounded by a support system of family and friends whose commitment has never wavered.
Jen is an athletic trainer whose lifelong commitment to health and fitness has led to her cranking through the finish line of countless races, triathlons and TWO IronMan competitions. She has a sincere desire for her clients to achieve wellness, and to this end she stands by them, instructing, teaching, encouraging, supporting…. Literally changing their lives.
Her nature is simple, it is genuine, it is humble, it is spirited, it is strong. Jen is devoted. To her family and her friends. And to cancer. Because she has every intention of devotedly kicking its butt. Today at the Komen Race, Joe wore a hat with the well-known and almost now cliché but awesome “Life is good” … And you know what, these two know it, they show it, and they live it like a billboard. Every single day. Like a gift. No hat slogan necessary.
I challenge everyone to read about this study and join the movement. Do this for yourself, your mom, your daughter, your best friend, your neighbor. This is our chance to be a part of research that ends breast cancer forever.