Breast cancer on our minds in October

Editor remembers aunt who fought deadly disease
Breast cancer on our minds in October

When I dance in my traditional Ho-Chunk outfit, I often think of my late aunt Christiane Williams, who moved as gracefully in her beaded buckskin dress as she did through life. She was my mother’s youngest sister, and in 2003 she lost her battle with cancer. Seeing what she went through in her final months makes me appreciate the efforts of those who provide support and services to cancer patients and their families.

One such organization caught my attention recently. I was called to the front lobby at my workplace and presented with a box of gourmet cupcakes by a bearded man in a stylish pencil skirt and a charcoal gray sweater. It turns out he was Jackson Jones of the local radio show Today’s Q106 “Morning Show with Jackson and Ashley,” and he congratulated me in my new role as editor on behalf of Gilda’s Club Madison. Jones was dressed as the late comedienne Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. Radner was the inspiration for Gilda’s Club, which offers emotional support and a variety of services to those affected by cancer. Gilda’s Club is open to anyone with cancer, not just women, and the entire family is welcomed at the club. I shared that box of sweets with my staff and coworkers. But what’s more meaningful is sharing information about the efforts by groups like these, and the importance of supporting them in whatever ways we can.

There are so many other organizations that deserve recognition, including Susan G. Komen South Central Wisconsin, which raises money locally and puts seventy-five percent of those funds back into the community to help care for “low resource” women. The nonprofit says the remainder of those funds benefits the Komen National and International Breast Cancer Research Grants. Elsewhere in this magazine, we shine a light on a local event, Sparkle of Hope, that raises money for research and patient care in the area of gynecological cancer. These are causes worth learning about.

October is the month when we hear more about this deadly disease, and people are urged to wear pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a month when I think of my beautiful aunt and the example she left me on how to be a strong Ho-Chunk woman. If you see me in the color pink this month, it will be in her memory.