October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that has me (and many others) thinking about breast cancer and its affects on our lives. At first thought, it seems as though my life hasn’t been touched by breast cancer very much. I had a neighbor as a child that had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. At the time, I really did not understand what happened to her or the extent of what her illness was. I knew she was “sick” and that she “got better” but that was about it.
Other than that, I have not had any family affected by breast cancer. I have had friends that were affected by breast cancer in their families, but not me.
Call me blessed.
As an adult, I changed my career and entered the nursing profession. At that time, all I knew about illness and disease changed. No longer could I live in my self-induced fantasy world where people didn’t get disease, and when they did, they only recovered. No longer was I allowed to think that illness didn’t take people from their friends and family. During nursing school, I worked with one male patient who had breast cancer. Sadly, when you are in school, you only work with a patient a day or two before moving on to another. I don’t know what happened to that man but he has crossed my mind from time to time.
After some time in the nursing profession, I entered long-term care nursing. What this basically means is that I worked in a skilled care and transitional living facilities. As you can imagine by the name, long-term care means that I was able to get to know my patients on a more personal level. I was no longer the nurse that came and went. I saw them several days a week. I bandaged their wounds. I wiped their tears. I was a part of their lives and they mine.
During this time, I learned more about disease and illness than any nursing school could ever teach me. I was forced to see the devastation that illness can bring upon a person and their family and friends. This time is when breast cancer became commonplace for me; a fact that saddens me to this day. I loved my patients and it was heartbreaking to see them hurting. Breast cancer took more of the women I cared for than I would like to admit. Sadly, diagnosis was late for many. Others chose to not undergo treatment. Still others just couldn’t fight the disease that was unjustly inflicted upon them.
Breast cancer hurts. It hurts those that have it. It hurts their family members and friends. It also hurts those that care for them. Breast cancer is not a disease that only affects the patient. It affects everyone. I still get sad when I think about those I have cared for and lost to breast cancer. But, there are things we can do to help fight breast cancer with the help of Procter and Gamble and that gives me hope for the future. P&G Beauty and the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., have partnered to share the gift of early detection through simple actions and everyday purchases. Elisabeth Hasselbeck and her family have also gotten involved to share their personal experiences with breast cancer and to help raise awareness for this important cause.
- Save while you give. On Sunday, October 2, and Sunday, October 16, a GIVE Hope brandSAVER will be distributed in newspapers across the country, with discounts for P&G products, including Olay, Pantene, Crest and many more. For each GIVE Hope brandSAVER coupon redeemed, P&G will donate two cents to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) – allowing people to give back, while saving money.
- Share with friends. “Like” P&G Beauty on Facebook. For every “like” at http://www.facebook.com/PGUnitedWeBeautify, P&G will donate 10 cents to NBCF to further support their mission of saving lives through early detection. The P&G Beauty Facebook page will also feature stories from female employees who have been impacted by this disease.
- Buy, give and get. During the month of October, consumers will receive a $10 rebate ( ) and will also trigger a $10 donation to NBCF with the purchase of $50 worth of P&G Beauty products, including Venus, Olay, Secret, CoverGirl, Nice ‘n Easy, Pantene, Safeguard and Ivory.