Finding Strength In My Local Community Program

On Monday, April 2nd 2012, I had the privilege of being asked to speak at a Sharsheret Supports Breast Cancer Symposium at the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service in Delray Beach, Florida.  This one of a kind program was co-sponsored by 10 large companies and organizations, including our own, Sharsheret.

More than 150 community members attended the event and my breakout workshop on Sharsheret’s programs was well attended by women, young and old.  I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in May of 2006, just 7 months after my mother passed away from breast cancer.  As a motivational speaker and powerful advocate of personal empowerment before, during, and after illness, I believe that it is important to teach other women to grab hold of their courage, step out on faith, and be the best they can be when faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer.  To be a Cancer Warrior.

Most of the women who attended this extraordinary program were breast cancer survivors.  I was overwhelmed by their stories.  In particular, one woman told us the story of her 23 year-old daughter who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and was BRCA Positive.  Thanks to Sharsheret, this young girl does not have to face her diagnosis alone.  She has an organization that can offer peer support, up to date information about her treatment, access to a genetic counselor, support for her caregivers, and a link to other healthcare professionals.

To say the least I am grateful for having won my battle, but also humbled and amazed at the fragility of life.  I am awed by the women before me who have also won this battle.  I celebrate the courage of those we have lost. 

I now understand that when you are faced with a challenge in life, you have a choice: to find the hero within, or to give up.  By choosing to uncover your own courage, strength, and determination, you become a role model for others.

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