Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meeting with Komen

When we entered the Race for the Cure last May, I had written the Komen SLC Affiliate about Morgan's story.  They were very interested in meeting her once the craziness of the race had died down.  So we finally got together with them in June.  You would have thought we were celebrities the way we were treated.

Morgan told them her story starting from when she first felt the lump through how she has dealt with school to her plans for the future.  They discussed different options of how Morgan could become involved with Komen and their mission.  Morgan wants to help bring awareness to the younger generation and have young girls become familiar with self exams.  Komen has decided to write a letter to all of the Student Body Presidents in all of the high schools in Utah and ask them to participate in some type of pink fundraiser this year.  In the middle of the letter is Morgan's personal story written in her own words:

When you are 15 years old, you are probably worrying about getting your driver's license, going to prom, or getting your first job. Wondering if you'll be alive in the next year isn't exactly the first thing to come into your mind.  In August of 2010, I showed my mom a large lump in my breast that I was concerned about.  She, naturally, became very worried and contacted 5 different doctors about the matter.  After many different appointments we finally had the lump removed on August 25th with the thought of the mass being nothing more than a swollen gland or a fibroid cyst.  Only two days later, my life changed completely. 

"Triple Negative Medullary Breast Cancer" is what they called it.  More doctors and more procedures gave me my schedule for the next year or so.  Six chemotherapy treatments - each three weeks apart, a double mastectomy in January 2011, and radiation M-F for five weeks.  The type of cancer I had was not only one of the rarest types, but it is also one of the most aggressive.  Because of this, I had to have one of the most toxic forms of chemotherapy and also had the most invasive and radical surgical treatments possible due to the high chance of recurrence of my tumor without those treatments. It has been a very long process and has taken every bit of energy I have.  I finished radiation treatments in late April and now only need one more reconstructive surgical procedure this fall. 

Because of this whole ordeal, I basically missed my entire Junior year at Riverton High School, and also lost (along with my hair) many moments I could have shared with my friends and family. Breast Cancer is known as an "old woman's" disease.  I want to send this message with the great people of Susan G. Komen for the Cure to alert and notify the public that it is far from it. This disease can affect anyone; daughters, mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmas, even men.  I hold myself personally responsible to spread breast cancer awareness among young people and educate them about checking themselves.  I want to enforce the act of getting annual mammograms at an even young age than ever before realized.  I hope my story can inspire you to do the same.

Komen also is having a large Survivor Gala in October and have chosen to use a picture of Morgan as their invitation.  It reads...Fight Like a Girl!  It is so awesome!  Morgan's brother, Doug, took the picture of her earlier this year when she didn't have much hair and she looks so great!  Once they have sent out the invites, I will post a copy of it online, but I don't want to steal the moment, so for now it is just for the family to see.  One of the pictures was maniputlated into an art project for a class at BYU by Kylee.  It is absolutely amazing. She cut the word Survivor into the background and then cut some flowering vines coming out of Morgans chest to represent regrowth. Don't be surprised if you see it on a billboard someday.

I am so very proud of Morgan and her decision to represent young survivors.  She is very passionate about informing young women so they don't have to go through what she has had to go through. Check yourself at any age!

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