8th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer
I have just returned from the 8th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer, which took place in Jacksonville, FL last weekend. It's a great event sponsored by Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Young Survival Coalition, and for the first time, it was also sponsored by Komen For the Cure. I was duly in awe of the men and women I was privileged to be around.
I was invited along with Men Against Breast Cancer's Program Director Clint Crews to lead a Partners In Survival workshop for "Men Only" in which we shared with the men who are the primary caregiver for their loved one with breast cancer our proven systematic problem solving technique called, C.O.P.E.
I must confess, I had thought what I would be sharing with you was my experience in working with the men in our workshop. If I did that, I would not do justice to the amazing spirit, courage, grace, zeal, and zest for life I felt by all in attendance. I felt as if I was part of a celebration-and I was.
We all celebrated the women who are staring breast cancer in the face and saying, ‘bring it on." They were saying loud and clear that I have a life to live and you (breast cancer) can be an uninvited part, but I am moving forward. There was also celebration of those who lost their struggle, but are not forgotten as they continue to inspire us to do more.
But, I also must comment on the amazing 26 men who came to our Partners In Survival Workshop and reinforced my belief in men being supportive, loving, committed, and caring partners who will do whatever it takes to be there for the women he loves. Many of these men had never met each other and by the end of our 90 minute session had shared intimate details about their fears and anxieties about how to be a better person and make sure the women he loves know he will always be there for her. It is imperative to me to point out that the fears and anxieties where about how to make sure she knows I love her and to demonstrate this in a loving way and NOT how to move on like this did not happen. These guys were in there in the trenches wanting to learn and do whatever it took to be caring, supportive and loving partners.
These men as others I have worked with are heroes to me along with their partners because of how they are able to deal with a disease that sucks and keep living and loving with all the bumps, no craters in the road they must confront on a daily basis. Their courage is peerless.
I feel so blessed and fortunate to have been part of this Conference and to be part of such an amazing group of people and organizations who get it that we are all in this together.
So thank you to everyone there for touching my heart and leading life by examples we should all aspire to live by...to borrow a line from Jerry Maguire, you make we want to be a better man.