Today's post is written by one of our Managers, Natalie Young. Natalie is a Model of Courage for Ford Warriors in Pink and graciously agreed to share her story of overcoming breast cancer in the hopes of encouraging and inspiring others. Thank you, Natalie.
I was 28 years old when my doctor told me I had breast cancer. Words I never expected to hear. I was healthy and exercised daily. I had breastfed my daughter for a year. I had no family history.
After navigating through the shock of my diagnosis, it was time to fight. I can vividly remember looking at my daughter sleeping peacefully that Sunday night, while my mind was racing with fear and anxiety. I told my Mom, "I'm more scared of how she is going to have to see me go through this". And that's when my fight really started.
I went through many treatments and procedures over the course of the next couple of years. As of December 2010, I was done. I am done. No more surgeries, no more chemo. I'm cancer free...but that's just one side of my story.
The other side is, I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR! I have learned so much about how strong I can be and myself. I was inspired by a survivor here in Austin, Texas, who said that she "didn't want to waste her cancer." When I heard that, it really struck a chord with me. I knew that what I had been through stunk. It was hard. I didn’t want to do it again. But I also knew I had to do something with it. I may have been cancer free, but I wasn’t done. That is the other side of my story… and it’s just beginning.
Earlier this year, I was chosen as one of eleven Models of Courage for Ford Warriors in Pink. What an incredible experience! Models of Courage are survivors from across the United States--nine women and two men--that are doing something with their cancer. Ford Motor Company has raised more than $115 million dollars to fight against breast cancer in the past eighteen years. You can watch a new documentary featuring the Warriors in Pink program, Bang the Drum: Living Out Loud in the Face of Breast Cancer, at their website fordcares.com.
I'm also very proud that the company I work for, WTA, is helping in the fight against breast cancer with their Go Pink Campaign, which has raised nearly $13,000 for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research over the last 4 years. You can learn more at gopinkwta.com