“Cancer? Why should I worry about that? I’m too young to get cancer.” My name is Taylor, and up until recently this was the mindset I had toward this disease.
Yes, I knew it was a terrible illness and yes, I knew a lot of people had unfortunately lost their lives to it, but it was always older people that I knew that had cancer - my older neighbor down the street, my grandparents’ friends, elder members of my church. It was never people my age that got cancer…was it?
This past year has been a bit of a game-changer for me, and I was hit square in the face with the harsh reality that just about anyone can get cancer. It had never hit so close to home before, and I lost people I would have never guessed could have been taken down by anything, much less cancer. With all of this hardship I was forced to realize that cancer is much more powerful than I could have ever imagined. And it can happen to anyone.
Did you know that compared to older women, young women generally face more aggressive cancers and lower survival rates? Women ages 15 to 34 die more frequently from breast cancer than any other cancer. As a 23-year-old woman, this scares me. I simply cannot fathom a breast cancer diagnosis at this age. I want to do all of the things a normal 23-year-old gets to do -- go on dates, have ‘girls night’, take spontaneous road trips and squeeze in the last bit of fun before I really have to grow up. I have too much I want to accomplish and my life is busy enough already - I certainly don’t have room for cancer.
I don’t want to be a statistic, so I’m walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for all of these young women - those who have already been affected by breast cancer, those that will soon get the call from their doctor that something is wrong, and those that are lucky enough and won’t ever be affected but will probably know someone who has been.
I am walking not only for myself but also for my friends, my cousins, my co-workers, and all of the other young women in my life. I’m walking so grandparents don’t have to lose their granddaughters; I’m walking so that mothers don’t have to lose their daughters. On October 26th, 2013, I will begin this 39-mile journey with my own mother so that together we can help to find a cure. I want her to be around for another 50+ years and I know she wants me to be around for at least another 75, so we are committed to doing the Avon Breast Cancer Walk for each other.
We all live busy lives, but no one is too busy for breast cancer. I will be tackling this challenge to stop breast cancer before it stops me or the other young women around me. I encourage all of you to go online to www.avonwalk.org and sign up for the walk. If you can’t walk then make a donation so that families everywhere don’t have to lose their daughters to this menacing disease. The more of us that walk, the more of us that survive!