Cassie Turner & Chace Blackburn
During Breast Cancer Awareness month, Businesses and organizations work together in order to promote familiarity and spread information about the disease.
The pictures featured on this spread were taken from places around the area, including Hallmark, Ulta, Penelope, Panera and Martins.
Many well-known companies have produced product lines to show support to those battling with breast cancer.
Kenna Turner, mother of three, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.
“It’s definitely not easy, but it’s something that you have to fight. You can’t give up,” Turner said.
After experiencing both chemotherapy and radiation, she now aspires to help women who are struggling to deal with the reality of their diagnosis.
“My advice would be to just keep moving forward, one step at a time. There is no guarantee that life is easy or fair, work with what you’re given and never lose faith,” Turner said.
“Keep moving forward“
Her hair was the first to go. Not her personality, not her pride. She never broke down and she refused to let me see her cry. Not knowing exactly what lay ahead of her, she continued on.
Treatments became a normal routine for my parents, but I could never bring myself to accept them as her fate.
She was almost done for the day, when she had a reaction to the chemotherapy. The color drained from her face and her body convulsed. The room was suddenly filled with the sound of thudding feet against the cold, hard floor. Nurses appeared on all sides as they engulfed her in a blue haze.
Even then, her faith did not falter, although I wish that I could say the same of mine.
My mother confined herself to her room; her presence always known, but not often witnessed. Occasionally, when I could bear it no more, I would sneak around the corner to her door, and although I hated to see the state she was in, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to look.
The door creaked slightly as I pushed it open. My eyes roamed the room scanning everything : her bald head, the pile of hats in the corner, the newscaster rattling off current events to a silent room.
As the weeks came and went, I collected these images of her. Slowly, but surely, she began making progress.
After an eternity, she made it to radiation. As she regained strength, I regained hope. Hope turned to courage as I dared to take the risk I had been waiting to take: I pictured what life would be like after her final treatment.
“We got through it together”
“She sat me down, and told me that she had cancer in one of her breasts,” senior Abby Kindle said.
Kindle recalls the way she could feel her world stop, everything standing still as the mother she was always close to her relayed her failing health.
“It was the most shocking experience in my life.”
Data shows that there are 232,000 new cases of breast cancer every year. Almost 40,000 of those result in death. The morbidity that filled Kindle’s mind was attributed to only one person.
“My mom and I have been best friends since I was little. We never fought. But even the few petty arguments we did have vanished after her diagnosis. We have been closer since, because it’s one of those sentiments in which you never knew it could happen.”
But the impact of the cancer did not just impact the relationship between Kindle and her mother, but rather the family dynamics in general.
“We feel a connection because we got through it together. We know that nothing can damage us and our bond is a lot stronger as a result,” Kindle said.
Until December eighth, the last day of her treatment, Kindle’s mother kept a stiff upper lip.
“She always told me, ‘when this is over, we’ll move on’.”
Kindle’s respect for her mother grew exponentially.
She relates the fact that her brothers and dad were less distraught than she was, wanting to have a more blasé approach so as not to upset the cool sentiments of their matriarch. But it was still a long, grueling process. That process came to an end in the summer before Kindle’s junior year.
“She started feeling better in the end of the summer. She was able to bounce back, and we were all so happy and proud for her.”
“She is in remission now. We get extra screenings. However, she is no longer susceptible to breast cancer, because of the double mastectomy,” Kindle said.
Though the hardship wanes, the experience is one Kindle will never forget. She states that she will always remember this time, even if her mom doesn’t want to.
“I want to get a tattoo of a breast cancer ribbon, but my mom said she would disown me if I did. She said it reminds her of a terrible, but ultimately, arbitrary time in her life,” she said.
“I want the ribbon as a symbol of my mom, and an emblem for anyone who has ever gone through breast cancer.”
In this month, it is important to adopt an attitude of openness.
In Kindle’s words, “no matter who you are, cancer can impact your family.”
The word that used to come to mind when I thought of my grandma.
Always talking, always hugging, always holding me,
Til the day that I held her.
If I had all the powers in the world
Of all the kings and socialists,
I would save her from herself,
From her arms and legs,
And all her body that has given up.
The day she found out was the day I spoke words I had never known.
A piece of paper I gave to her,
Sentiments being the only gift I could ever give to her.
A week in,
her body was different.
Those hands that were once the focal point of conversation
now shook uncontrollably.
As the IV dripped,
her life was taken away.
But her years were increased.
The legs that once walked the Great Wall of China
could no longer support her.
She slept instead.
All the limbs
that were once her friends,
all turned away in fear.
There was one day where her husband
and she and I were driving home.
She, sick beyond belief.
Her hand on his.
Her heart saved for the one whose stomach churns when she is sick.
We found ourselves on a long car ride to nowhere.
Finding the arbitrary nature of the task
as well as this world itself.
She holds on to the destination and the look in his eyes.
He has an undying love that burns brighter than coolness
Saved for her.
They could have been anything.
Scientists, mathematicians, professors, doctors, lawyers, politicians,
But they chose to be each others’ instead.
As I lay in the back of the car
with my vagabond tendencies
I found love within the heart of a woman who never said anything.
In the final period in which my grandmother was receiving treatment, I wrote her one ultimate letter. The prior ones were peppered with compliments and anonymity. But in this last one, I told her she was mybridge to the metaphysical.
That I would die for her.
My heart stopped until the moment I handed her the letter, in which I felt alive once again.
The need to say everything, in every way,
all at once.
I placed it into her hands.
Not as strong as they once were.
Smile, the same as it always was.
I looked into her steadfast blue eyes and told her that my letter said everything I couldn’t.
But when we hugged, I realized there was nothing to say.
Stoic women don’t need all the words
of Merriam Webster
the stirrings of the heart.