If you register now and use this code:  IE2012, you will get a $5 discount off the Race registration fee.  I hope to see you there.  Lets end breast cancer – together!

In early August 2006, a routine mammogram found a suspicious mass on my left breast. This had happened before two years earlier on my right breast, but it turned out to be nothing, so I wasn’t too worried. It could be another false alarm. However, the news was not good. An ultra sound confirmed the lump and a week later a biopsy determined it was Stage 1 infiltrating ductal carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer.

I was lucky. My breast cancer was found early, and it was all because of a mammogram. I had not felt the lump during my rather infrequent breast self-exams, and I actually had skipped my annual mammogram the year before because I was “too busy.”

My treatment journey took me through a few detours and a roller coaster of emotions, but I survived. I am now one of the 98 percent of the women whose cancer is detected early and likely to reach the five-year survival marker after diagnosis. My chances would have been just 23 percent if my cancer had been detected at a later stage.

I was also very fortunate to have the support and love of friends, family and co-workers. I had a job with good health benefits, so most of my treatment and surgeries were covered by my health insurance. We had savings to cover the co-pays and deductibles. I had meals on the table, a roof over my head, and a loving husband to help with our children and running the house.

But not everyone is as fortunate as I was. In these hard economic times, many more women are without jobs and health insurance and choose to forgo the mammogram and other preventive health screenings. If they do get a mammogram, and have the unfortunate situation of getting diagnosed with breast cancer, many get overwhelmed by all the complex decisions to be made and the cost of treatment. A diagnosis of breast cancer and the treatment that follows is a difficult journey. Imagine going through one of the scariest, most difficult challenges of life and having no one to support you or having to worry about how you are going to pay rent, buy groceries or take care of your children?

The Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen grants to local health and social service organizations to make sure women don’t need to skip mammograms because they don’t have health insurance, and don’t have to face an overwhelming diagnosis alone. For nearly twenty years, Komen Puget Sound has invested over $24 million to fight breast cancer through local breast health services and funding for research to find the cure.

Komen Puget Sound has provided grants for screenings, education, patient navigation and treatment support services for underserved, under/un-insured women in Western Washington. Organizations like International Community Health Services (ICHS), a grantee since 1996, provide outreach and awareness to limited English-speaking Asian Pacific Islanders and arrange for mobile mammograms to be provided at its two clinic sites. Recently, Komen Puget Sound granted $1.3 million dollars to the WA Department of Health’s Breast, Cervical and Colon Health Program (BCCHP) to address the long waiting list for no-cost lifesaving mammogram screening and diagnostic services for eligible low-income, uninsured women.

This June 3rd, Komen Puget Sound’s biggest fundraiser — Race for the Cure — is being held at the Seattle Center with a goal of raising $1.6 million dollars. Won’t you join us by registering at www.komenpugetsound.org? Be a part of Seattle’s largest 5K run/walk to raise awareness about breast cancer and to raise funds for research to find a cure and for mammograms and breast health services now!

Register. Donate. Form a team or join a team (“Tickled Pink” or “International Community Health Services”). Volunteer.

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