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Life, Liberty, and Awareness?

October is the month, here in the South, where the leaves begin to change and everybody busts out their ‘Pink.’ We do so in order to promote awareness, testing, research, and support for those people in the world inflicted with Breast Cancer.

I figure ‘Breast Cancer’ deserves to be capitalized, even though it’s not a proper noun or the name of a country, city, or place of renown.  No, Breast Cancer is a fearsome foe indeed and while my normal approach to something as fierce as Breast Cancer is to attack it with humor, this ain’t going to be one of those columns.

Breast Cancer is neither polite nor mannerly.  It doesn’t send you a memo, reminding you that it’s coming to call, or an email telling you which day of those many left in your life to expect it. There’s never a message on your voicemail or text inbox that advises, “I’m on my way. I’ll be there before you know it.”

No, none of that. Breast Cancer just shows up, unannounced, demanding its due, like a hungry-mad stray dog, that bites, that’ll eat you out of house and home, poop all over your carport, and then in it’s own sweet time, just leave.

Breast Cancer comes quietly, like a thief.  Like a thief, it steals from its victims and quite often takes those things that had been acquired over a lifetime: self-confidence, self-esteem, a sense of identity, and a sense of ‘belonging’ to a greater group. Things that can often be reacquired, granted, but things that will come at a heavy price.

In its wake Breast Cancer leaves scars on a person’s body (not all victims of Breast Cancer are women, mind you) and on a person’s soul.  Sadly, the physical scars will often heal long before, too long before, the emotional scars begin to scab over and knit.

This is the nature of our common enemy, friends and neighbors. This is the beast which must be defeated wherever located and whenever possible.

That takes time, effort, and money. It takes volunteers, volunteers to participate in fund raising events and volunteers to donate money to fund research. But most importantly, volunteers to overcome their own personal modesty, step outside their comfort zone, and remind their friends to do a monthly self-examination.

It also takes compassionate volunteers willing to reach out to victims of Breast Cancer to let them know that despite the ravages of this terrible disease, they are still a whole person, worthy and valuable to the world, in general and to their friends in particular.

Doing that takes strength and courage, character traits that we may doubt we possess. Do not doubt it. Are we not made in God’s own image? Don’t waste your breath telling me that we as mortals don’t possess these traits, because I see them, we all see them, every day.

It’s this very strength and courage that allows us to laugh in the face of Breast Cancer, to flaunt banners that say things such as “Save the Ta-Tas!” It takes strength and courage to sponsor, promote, and produce such uniquely Southern style fundraisers such as TaTa Bang Bang, possibly the only venue to fight Breast Cancer and raise awareness through the use of shooting sports.

Most importantly, be ready. If Breast Cancer comes to call, make sure you have a plan and make sure you follow it. Be the person who refuses to give up.