Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to dedicate my workout to a breast cancer survivor and work out alongside survivors and other friends of Susan G. Komen's MA chapter and New Balance. Together, they have created the #LaceUp365 program to bring awareness to breast cancer throughout the entire year - not just during the month of October.
For 25 years, New Balance has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to bring awareness and support the fight against breast cancer. It is projected that 10 million women will lose their lives to this terrible disease over the next 25 years if a cure is not found. In addition to that, over 300,000 women will be diagnosed in the US this year alone.
The event I went to was at the new Barry's Bootcamp in Downtown Crossing. It was awesome! Energizing, difficult, and really fun! I decided to dedicate that workout to my Aunt Kathy who was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. How motivating is that? To dedicate your workout to someone who has been through far more than just 60 minutes of tough exercise. It definitely made me push harder and give every ounce of energy to my work out.
YOU can dedicate YOUR daily workout to a different survivor that you have a personal connection to or someone who is featured on the New Balance Lace Up 365 web page. Please join me in doing so and use the hash tag #LaceUp365 on social media to help make this program go viral!
Here's a few pictures from the event - that's me in the middle there - pushups with leg and arm raises... whoo!
Guys... how cool is this? The class was awesome. Also, all I'm asking is that you dedicate your workout to bring AWARENESS to the fight against breast cancer. October isn't the only month that women get diagnosed, it happens every.... single... day. Spread the word!
So, the best part of class was working out alongside these wonderful ladies. All three are survivors with their own unique stories that reveal their unparalleled strength and motivation. I am going to paste in the stories that they emailed to me so that you can hear, in their own words, what they have gone through and how they have fought the fight. So incredibly inspirational.
My name is Chien-Chi Huang and I was diagnosed with breast cancer just few months after I turned 40.
I was shocked when given the bad news because I thought only white women or old women could get breast cancer. I was even more surprised to learn that many Asian American women I knew had breast cancer, but nobody talked about it.
In fact, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Asian American women and the leading cancer cause among Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Korean women. Yet when compared to other racial groups, Asian American women have the lowest screening service utilization rate. Language and cultural barriers often prevent people from seeking proper, timely treatment and support, which have a great impact on the survival outcomes. Many still suffer in silent, feeling isolated and stigmatized.
Cancer is a subject no one wants to talk about, and it is especially hard for Asian Americans to come forward and speak about it. Therefore, it is even more important for people to see others who beat the disease and hear about the resources available in the community.
I am very grateful as I have the second chance to live a productive life. I believe we could save lives by recruiting and retaining Asian American women for early detection services. As a prevention health worker, I understand that personal stories can be a powerful tool to change people’s perception, attitude and behaviors. My ultimate goal is to empower others to dispel myth, reduce disparities and bring hope to fellow Asian American women by sharing their cancer experience and breast health related information. With the support from the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure ® and the Saffron Circle, I will work with health facilities and community based organizations to conduct culturally appropriate educational workshops in the Asian American communities.
Elise DeCola... Here's my story:
I'm a 43-year old mom of 2 amazing daughters and a 2-time breast cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed in May of 2005, at age 34. My daugters were 4 and 1. I chose a very aggressive treatment because of my age and tumor characteristics, and had 3 months of chemo followed by a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and 5 years of hormone therapy. The initial treatment and surgeries were challenging, but I stayed active and positive, and eventually my hair grew back and I got used to the implants and I moved on. After my cancer diagnosis, I learned to ski. I took up golf. I ran two 200-mile overnight relays. I continued to work, running a small consulting firm and traveling all over North America. And I continued to raise, with my husband, our two girls. I became involved with Susan G. Komen through the Race for the Cure, and was eventually invited to participate in Survivor events. The very first one was a fashion show for New Balance. I found a great source of strength and comfort in bonding with other survivors, and found that I could have an impact on other women by identifying my still fairly young self as a Survivor. Breast cancer is not just a disease for older women.
In May of 2012, I found a small lump in my mastectomy scar that turned out to be a recurrence. I went through more surgeries, had more chemo, had some radiation, went into surgically induced menopause and started another round of hormone treatment. This time around, my girls were 11 and 8 - but they did not miss a beat. It was a tough year, but we got through it and I'm putting the pieces back together. Through it all, Komen has been a huge part of my support network, and I have continued to participate in outreach events. I was the New Balance Honorary Team member for the 2012 Race for the Cure, and my race team raised over $12,000!
Here are a couple of articles from my local paper.
My name is Angela Dias
I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2008 and I am in remission for 5 years.
To survive Breast Cancer one has to be positive, open, courageous and allow others to help you. I found a great length of support through friends, my Buddhist practice, healthcare providers and the NE community. I also found support and strength in the Susan G. Komen Volunteer Programs. It allows me to give back by helping others who are going through cancer treatments, reach out to the MA community through Educational programs and participate in outreach programs not only in MA but all over the world. We all know someone or have been touched by Breast Cancer. We need to come together to beat Breast Cancer. Early detection saves lives and regular exercise is key to a healthy life.
Are you all feeling a bit more motivated to be healthy, go for a run, a walk, a boot camp class? I wanted to close this post by providing some breast health tips that we can all use to be healthier. I pulled most of these tips from the Susan G. Komen website. Click here for more details.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Eat your fruits & veggies
- Limit red meat and processed meat (choose chicken, fish or beans instead).
- Cut down on "bad" fats (saturated and trans fats), and eat more "good" fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like olive and canola oil, avocados, etc.).
- Get enough vitamin D and calcium every day. For women and men ages 51 to 70, this means 600 IU of vitamin D and 1,200 mg of calcium. For men ages 51 to 70, this means 600 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium.
- If you drink alcohol, limit to drink less than one drink of alcohol a day (for women and fewer than two drinks a day for men). Those who drink alcohol should try to get enough folic acid, either through a multivitamin or foods like oranges, orange juice, leafy green vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Know your own risk
- Get scanned
- Achieve emotional well-being (cut down on stress)
I am participating in another event on Thursday and cannot wait to be among such incredible women again!
Have a wonderful week! xo