If you've been a regular reader of the Courier-Journal in the past three years, then you know who Megan Schanie is. For the past three years, the newspaper has been chronicling the life of this young mother of two and her battle with breast cancer.
The first article about Megan appeared shortly after I moved to Loueyville. And I, like most CJ readers, devoured each installment of her story. But-- and I can't put my finger on the exact moment-- at some point her story became too powerful for me. I remember very vividly reading an update about her progress that had been hampered by something and thinking, "Holy cow. I am waaaaaay too invested in this person. If something horrible happens-- if, God forbid, she dies-- I don't know if I can handle it." I cried. I bawled my eyes out in my kitchen. And so I stopped reading the articles about Megan. Totally. Cold turkey. I wasn't willing to invest in this woman who I didn't know. It already hurt too much.
And, maybe six or eight months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And the Breast Health Navigator at Norton Suburban said, (I paraphrase) "You're so young, and you're so scared. Let me hook you up with someone who is younger and braver than you are."
Bless her heart. That "someone" was Megan. Megan took me out to lunch and changed my life. And she's continued to change my life. She was the guest speaker at my school for breast cancer awareness month. Her husband and I are Facebook buddies and stay in touch that way. My second-to-last chemo, I couldn't find someone to take me... her mother-in-law (??!!) picked me up, sat with me for the five+ hr process, and now calls herself my Louisville mom.
Besides being my friend and my role model, Megan is also the co-founder of the local Young Survivors Network-- a support and networking group of women under 40 who were diagnosed with breast cancer. A week from this Friday-- February 27-- is the YSN's yearly fundraiser, a silent auction at the Frazier Museum (where Megan is the Education head).
Please come! $10 bucks gets you in. I, personally, have had awesome success with silent auctions-- been able to land all kinds of great goodies. And the Frazier Museum kind of rocks.
And... not to dwell too much on me and my situation, but the fact of the matter is that breast cancer in women under 40 is particularly pernicious. There are fewer than 50 women in the Young Survivors (at least that I know about), but I already know that there are two women-- including the co-founder of the group-- who won't be able to make it to the fundraiser because they will have just had recurrance-related surgery.
Lou fraking hates being the poster girl for breast cancer. But she is also TOTALLY thrilled to pimp herself out as much as possible for the cause. (She was #10 in Louisville for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk with $1375)
What: Young Survivors Network Fundraiser
Where: Frazier Museum
When: 2/27 at 6pm
And if you know any young breast cancer survivors, please send them my way and I will get her/him hooked up with the network.