October is BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a cancer survivor as anyone who has ever had cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of their life. There are now nearly 12 million cancer survivors in the United States, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). SexyMomsROCK celebrates the life and continued fight of the mothers, sisters, aunts, and women who survived and continue to thrive despite a breast cancer diagnosis. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR!
Here is the story of Sexy Sis, Jennifer Sparger:
I met Jennifer many years ago. Like me, she was a sister trying to make a difference in the entertainment industry. To be honest, I do not remember the exact interaction though I am sure she could probably tell you what we were both wearing, how the weather was that day, and what the temperature in the room was. Maybe it is because as a PR professional and event coordinator you have to focus on the smaller details. I like to think it is just because she is that type of caring person, considerate person who thinks of the things that affect others before she considers herself. That is why she never mentioned her challenging journey of surviving breast cancer she was traveling.
A few years ago, just prior to my transition from New York back to D.C, Jennifer and I met up for lunch. She was not working a stage play at the time. She was not promoting a recording artist. She just wanted to sit and chat. We met and began to catch up. I was all over the place at the time. Transition is tough. I was not sure what I could offer to the conversation but was glad to see her after so many years of just social media convos.
As we spoke Jennifer shared some of her health challenges. I felt sad, not for her struggle because I knew she was a fighter, but rather because I did not know. While I was off inspiring the world, I had no idea of her diagnosis, doctors appointments, or surgeries. I was not a relative and not a bestie; just a colleague who had no right to demand personal information about any health issues or anything else. Still, if I am helping everyone else I should be able to help someone I know and have worked with. Call it ego or pride, but I just felt like, “Why didn’t I know?”
The truth is if I had known, there would still be nothing I could do. This journey was one Jennifer had to travel alone. While I and others could support her and encourage her, it would still be a walk she and her faith would travel alone. While connecting at lunch, I gave her all I could. We talked entertainment. We talked publishing her story. We talked about strengthening the sisterhood and encouraging one another. Since then she has told me, numerous times, how that lunch has blessed her. Little did she know I left with more from her than anything I could provide.
From Jennifer I have learned that being a mom is more than giving birth.
If you have a family history of breast cancer or are concerned about your status, perform monthly self exams, know the warning signs, and consult your physician.