I learned many things from my experience as a Side-Out Ambassador; the things I learned will impact me for the rest of my life. From speaking to the strong, inspiring breast cancer survivor, Jean Cripps, to speaking with medical professionals who educated me about Metastatic Breast cancer’s effect on women, I feel as if I have made a connection to the topic both emotionally and physically.
Quality of Life
I learned a substantial amount about breast cancer; I touched on various topics such as diagnosis, treatment, equipment, and how diagnosis impacts a patient socially. A phrase that I heard multiple times throughout my journey and my education was “quality of life”. This phrase caught my attention and I pondered on it for a great while.
As people, I feel as if we take our precious lives for granted and we never realize how delicate life is until something devastating happens, such as being diagnosed with cancer or a loved one is diagnosed. According to a mammographer I interviewed and a podcast I listened to, medical professionals make patients’ quality of life their number one priority because life has no expiration date.
Sharing the Lessons
I passed my knowledge on to other people by showing them the presentation that outlined my journey, discussing my journey with donors, and my team created awareness about the topic leading up to our Dig Pink rally. While fundraising, donors would ask me about the Side-Out Foundation and its mission. After I informed them about the cause, they were ecstatic to make a contribution. Our rally caught the attention of many people in the Seward community, as well as our peers in Seward High School. Many students embraced the cause by wearing pink and cheering us on wholeheartedly at the rally. I am honored that I got the opportunity to educate other people on such a wonderful cause and important subject.
Reflecting on the Experience
My experience as an ambassador has been an impactful one. I am truly inspired by the incredible positivity of the women I spoke to in person and ones whose stories I learned via video. My general outlook on life has become more optimistic than it already was; I do not take things for granted and I live life to the fullest. A major priority of mine is the happiness of others and thinking of ways in which I can improve their quality of life.
Participating in the Ambassador Program has increased my self-worth and makes me feel like I am making a difference and quite possibly, improving their quality of life. As I spoke to Mrs. Cripps, I was in awe of her attitude about her experience; I inquired, “what was your outlook on your diagnosis?” and she replied with a smile, “I thought that it was what the good Lord had planned for me.” She told me her story, which included a devastating mastectomy, and she recalled returning to work after her surgery- like nothing had happened. A mastectomy is an upsetting and traumatic experience, and she handled it with composure and great dignity. She, as well as the many other brave women fighting breast cancer, is a great inspiration to me.