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March for Science

Earth Day always calls to mind an afternoon grilling on my deck in Bremerton. I was hosting my friend and fellow manager at Nordstrom, Breanne. And as we sat sipping cocktails and smelling all the good smells of seared meat and sunshine, I explained to her how much I hated the holly at the end of my driveway. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Breanne said, "let's cut it down." Well, yeah. Eventually I need to do that... "I mean today. Let's cut it down today. Do you own a saw?" Now there's a couple things about this situation I should probably tell you... We were both wearing four inch heals. Because Nordstrom. That holly was about 40' tall. The holly lived that day. I'd like to say it's because it felt wrong to fell a tree on Earth Day. But it was more likely the shoes.

Breanne and I that day

It's been more than ten years. I no longer wear high heels. I hear the next owner of the house finally removed the holly. And people around the world joined together for one of the most meaningful Earth Days in history. In case you missed it, today was the March for Science. I like science. I could list a host of reasons why I support today's brother is a daughter wants to BE a scientist.... 

But at the top of the list, science...really really advanced science...saved my life. The science of medical research. After my surgery at MDAnderson, I met with a radiation oncologist there. The intent was to get a better understanding of radiation therapy, any nuances for Inflammatory Breast Cancer, and ultimately justify going home for the treatment instead of stay several more months in Houston. The best laid plans....

My dad and I were blown away by the knowledge of Dr. Woodward and her staff. Hungry for more, I laid in bed that night looking into research from MDAnderson and Dr. Woodward. I stumbled my way into a chapter from a medical textbook detailing the studies that helped determine the standard of care for IBC: first chemo, then mastectomy, then radiation...twice a day radiation for high risk patients. I'm not going to pretend I understood everything I read. But I understood this: women died. Women like me. As the doctors worked at understanding how to fight IBC, there were women who had their mastectomy first. Women who didn't receive radiation...or received it, but not enough. Women who never had chemo. Women who only had chemo. Treatment that wasn't right or wasn't enough, and they died. 

So that I could live. That night in the dark, I felt a sobering kinship with those IBC sisters who went before me. And a debt of gratitude to the doctors whose life's work is the research of cancer and cancer treatments.  

Dr. Woodward, my radiation oncologist, on her way to the March for Science in Houston

Maybe you participated in Saturday's March for Science. Maybe you followed the coverage while raiding Easter basket chocolates. Maybe you're googling it now for the first time. Either way, I would ask that you make one last stand for science this weekend...this one with your wallet. Donate. 

The IBC Network Foundation funds research that traditional outlets are overlooking. Please donate to the  One in a Million campaign . 

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