Mother’s Day has become an emotional time for me.
I have no children of my own. But the day reminds me of how much my own mother means to me and how lucky I am to still have her in my life. When I was 3,000 miles away from home attending the University of Georgia my mom fought a brave battle with cancer, ultimately having to remove her infected breast and endure the emotional scars that come with that loss.
Not being there for her at such a tough time still rips at my heart strings and causes great guilt. When I was in Sociology class or at a dorm party I imagined the woman who had made me lasagna and drove me to gymnastics practice afraid, and it tore me apart. My only solace, years later, is knowing that my mom was and will always be a fighter who beat her disease.
Last year she called me and reported that she had hit a pivotal landmark – remaining cancer-free for five years now, long enough to go off of the tomoxophin regimen that ensured she stayed well. Greater news I could not imagine.
This year as May approached I thought about doing something for Mother’s Day connected to her plight with cancer, something to honor my mother while working toward creating a world where other daughters don’t have to endure the same worries about their mothers. What I discovered were a wealth of options that others can easily take:
• The Breast Cancer Site has a “Gifts That Give More” program. For varying sums, as low as $10, you can contribute to research, provide a wish to a woman with stage 4 breast cancer or help fund a natural birth center in Tibet. The options are personal and international.
• The American Institute for Cancer Research and Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are just two organizations that also offer gifts of breast cancer research.
• For a more tangible item, The Pink Ribbon Shop – which was started by a cancer survivor in her 30s -- sells charms, pillowcases, balloons and more that promote awareness.
• If time together is a more desired option, more than a dozen cities are hosting Mother’s Day-themed breast cancer walks next Sunday. Information is available at walk.networkofstrength.org.