Welcome to October, welcome to action

by Kelsey Knutson

October is my favorite month of the year – for reasons far beyond changing leaves, cooler temperatures and football season.

Last year was the first year in six years that I decided to not be involved with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For the first time in six years I wasn’t a part of a race team in Des Moines for the Susan G. Komen Iowa Race for the Cure. For the first time in six years I didn’t register and recruit family and friends for the event. And for the first time in six years I didn’t make a difference for the cause.

Actually, I think I did buy one T-shirt. Does that count?

Five days after National Breast Cancer Awareness Month ended, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Karma, irony, coincidence, bad luck – whatever you want to call it – I had big ‘ol dose of it.

Many of us have been touched by breast cancer, or any kind of cancer, in some way. It’s a mom, a sister, an uncle, a friend. Many times it can leave us feeling helpless, worthless and hanging on the edge.

However, welcome to October. Welcome to action.

I encourage all of you to get a friend and register for the Komen Race for the Cure in Des Moines. The event takes place on Saturday, Oct. 22, downtown by the capitol. Join a team or create one yourself – you can be as ambitious as you want! Wear some pink and support the women of your community.

Your $30 registration fee not only goes to research for a cure, but it also goes to support preventative care for the women in the central Iowa area. Your dollars could catch cancer cells growing inside, not just a woman down the street – but your mom, your sister or your aunt. Your $30 could contribute to 30 more years of a person’s life. You can single handedly make a direct impact.

Breast cancer will strike one in eight women during their lives. Let’s get together and lower that statistic.

While science and research has increased the survivor rate among those affected, not every story ends happily.

I’ve been so lucky and blessed as my mom was declared cancer free by late March last spring. After eight rounds of chemotherapy for 16 weeks, and radiation treatment after that, my mom has overcome the depths and perils of breast cancer.

Kelsey is a 2011 alumna of Simpson’s multimedia journalism prgoram and former editor of The Simpsonian. She currently works as an admissions counselor for Simpson.