Remembering absent MBC friends on Oct. 31

[Reposting as it is almost Oct. 31]

Last year I created my own holiday: Breast Cancer Remembrance Day.

On Oct, 31, the final day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I will remember the friends and family I have lost to this disease.

I will wear black, not for its funeral implications but for its simple dignity, a quality sadly lacking for much of the preceding 30-pink saturated days.

At 8:45 that night I will go outside with a flashlight. I’ll think of the one in 8* U.S. women who will get breast cancer and the 45,000 who will die this year.

My eighth grade science teacher told us if you turned on a flashlight and pointed it toward the sky the photons immediately start to spread out as they leave the flashlight. Provided they don’t hit anything, each individual photon travels through space forever.

Time slows down as you approach the speed of light.

I’ll think of those whose time was all too brief and I’ll hope for brighter days ahead.

 

 

 

* “1 in 8” should be put in proper context:

As the National Cancer Institute and Gary Schwitzer explain:

Women born now have an average risk of 12.2 percent (often expressed as “1 in 8″) of being diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives. On the other hand, the chance that they will never have breast cancer is 87.8 percent (expressed as “7 in 8”).

But that is a lifetime risk. Risk increases with age, so the NCI provides a more helpful way of looking at it – for all of those women watching who are of different ages:

A woman’s chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer is:

from age 30 through age 39 . . . . . . 0.43 percent (often expressed as “1 in 233”)
from age 40 through age 49 . . . . . . 1.45 percent (often expressed as “1 in 69”)
from age 50 through age 59 . . . . . . 2.38 percent (often expressed as “1 in 42”)
from age 60 through age 69 . . . . . . 3.45 percent (often expressed as “1 in 29”)

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6 thoughts on “Remembering absent MBC friends on Oct. 31

  1. Barbara Jo says:

    Katherine,

    I love the idea of the light traveling on forever. I hope you do not mind but I will join you. My MBC friends are lost to this world; but I would like to think that their individual light is flowing forever. Thank you for your wonderful thought, and action, of Breast Cancer Rememberance Day!

    Barbara Jo

  2. nancyspoint says:

    Katherine, Thank you. I’ll be remembering too.

  3. I love this idea. It’s respectful, thoughtful, brilliant. Thank you.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I’ve lost 2 friends,and another is in the battle,as am I.
    I will be out with my flashlight on October 31st.

  5. Being Sarah says:

    This is beautiful Katherine. I’ll be joining you here for the one in eight women in the UK that will also be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Imagine the photons travelling forever. Amazing image.

  6. Thank you, Katherine, for setting aside a fitting day of remembrance to bring a dignified closure to Pinktober. Many of us will be shining our flashlights at the sky tonight, hoping that the photons of light will penetrate the darkness and time and touch the ones we have loved and lost to breast cancer…POWERFUL!

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