I was diagnosed in February 2012 with Stage 3 breast cancer at age 35. My family was headed to Dubai for my husband’s work and my OB/GYN recommended I have a mammogram – that would ultimately save my life. In the whirlwind of the next few weeks – getting my husband back from overseas, wrapping my head around the 180 degree turn our life had taken, grappling with telling our children Mom has “cancer bugs” … I will never forget my oncologist handing me a tote bag and saying – “You’ve got to talk to the folks at BCRC. They do more to help my patients than anyone else.”
Turns out she was 100% right – about a lot of things, especially about me needing BCRC.
BCRC has provided me with patient navigation: “Runi, what the heck do I do about this rash? When do the hot flashes start/stop? What does it mean when I have tingling in my fingernails? How do you manage insomnia? I am so scared this is coming back? What exactly is a green smoothie?”
And, I have met lifelong friends – my fellow survivors and fighters, The Pink Ribbon Cowgirls. My daughter now sees pink ribbons and says “Look – the Pink Ribbon Cowgirls!” They are the ones that I turn to in times of crisis, commiseration, and celebration.
So, this fall, I found out that BCRC was hosting a Locally Pink fundraising campaign. What a great idea – so many people for so long had wanted to help me, but because of our amazing friends and family in Austin and around the country – we made it through– BUT here we could pay it forward, and have all the money stay here in Austin!
I set up a fundraising website and started pinging people through Facebook. I set what I considered to be an obscenely high goal of $5000 to be raised as an individual. Before the event even kicked off, my friends started pouring in with donations. From Austin, New York, London, Italy… all wanting to give back to the organization that truly supported me in my daily battle.
I promised my friends that if we raised $2500 I would dye my hair pink. Then my kids found out about it – twin six year olds and my eight year old – and they wanted in. I told everyone if we raised $500 more we would all dye our hair. The money poured in, and with it, I realized I had an opportunity to share with friends and family in Austin – so we invited 100 people to our house with kids and movies and beer and dyed everyone’s hair pink. It was an awesome night – celebrating what they had given to me, all in honor of BCRC.
I blew through my first two goals and had casually mentioned to my husband they were having a locally male review where he would wear an art bra. I’m in, he said, if you raise $8000. I did, and he did, and it was amazing and celebratory and such a wonderful way to thank BCRC for all they have done. And yes, the pictures are pretty entertaining too!
– Lauren Ward
BCRC Client & Pink Ribbon Cowgirl