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Breast Cancer Awareness: How Breast Cancer Has Touched My Life

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Breast Cancer—The family that lived right across the street from the house I grew up in were close friends of ours. We went to church together. One of the girls was only a year older than me and we played every day. I have two really strong memories of the many years we lived across the street from them.

The first is an innocent memory—carrot juice. I remember my friend talking to me about how her mom was drinking lots of carrot juice. I had never heard of carrot juice before and I giggled as I conjured up the image of trying to extract juice from something as strong and juice-less as a carrot. I giggled a lot, because this was a regular occurrence at their house. My friend explained it helped her mom feel better. I wondered why my mom didn't drink carrot juice!

The second is a memory that was perhaps one of the best lessons my parents ever taught us—the spirit of giving to others. For Christmas, my parents always selected people in our community to help. One particular year, they chose this family across the street. My mom then shared her plan to do the "12 Days of Christmas" to this family. I rolled my eyes, not wanting to sing, but she explained that we would anonymously drop off a gift or gifts each day (the number of gifts would increase from 1 to 12 as the days increased). Now we were talking. What were the gifts going to be? Who was going to deliver them? How would we stay anonymous?

Our entire family played a role. We helped choose the gifts, wrap them, deliver them (that was the funnest and scariest part). We would go back home afterward and laugh and tell stories over and over of how we almost got caught. And somewhere between the tactical side of making sure our treasures made it from our house to theirs, we all felt the spirit of Christmas deep inside of us. I can't tell you what I got for Christmas that year, but I can tell you that that same spirit burns inside me every time I think of this experience.

My friend's mom ultimately died after a very long bout with breast cancer. She raised six amazing children and was an example to everyone.

How You Can Help

During the month of October, Mom It Forward is proud to support Hanes as they promote breast health and to raise breast cancer awareness.

"Brighten someone's day, by sending a little comfort their way. For each new comfort package you create and send, Hanes will donate $1 to NBCF up to $25,000."

How has breast cancer touched your life? Who will you honor the month of October to raise breast cancer awareness? What steps will you take to improve your own breast health?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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