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When I first heard the concept of the “pink paper,” I had mixed feelings. I thought it was a great idea to focus on breast cancer awareness and share the many avenues available to patients and their families in our community. But ... pink paper? Can newspapers even be printed on pink paper?
When the first edition was published three years ago, I was pleasantly surprised. First, the actual pink color catches your attention.
As you start to read the headlines and look over the advertisements, it hits you: the entire newspaper is dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
Breast cancer affects thousands of women (and yes, even men!) each year, and I am sure each one of us can think of several people we know who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. A spouse, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a co-worker.
Oftentimes, friends and family of cancer patients feel helpless, uninformed, and frustrated as they watch their loved one face a tough battle physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Now take those feelings and multiply them by a thousand, and you will just begin to know what a cancer patient is experiencing.
No one expects to hear from their doctor, “You have cancer,” but those three words can change your life in an instant. A patient is now faced with weeks and months of doctor appointments, surgical procedures, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments, overnight hospital stays, and lots of decision-making.
It is an emotional roller coaster that doesn’t seem to stop.
Your world seems out of control and you don’t know when you will ever gain control again. Financial obligations hang over you and you learn way more about insurance than you ever wanted to know. Transportation to appointments can be a burden, and you often face the question of whether you can work during your treatments.
We live in a community that understands the needs of cancer patients and their families and are ready to help. This Chronicle edition is full of information that can help during a cancer journey, such as support groups, transportation opportunities, treatment centers, and even where to get a wig for free. A cancer patient should never feel alone or that they have no options.
I have faced cancer twice and won. I was first diagnosed at the age of 24, and after nine years of being cancer-free, I heard those three scary words again in 2010. I was so grateful to live in Citrus County and have options and support during both of my cancer experiences.
I encourage every cancer patient, whether your diagnosis is recent or not, to reach out and use the support systems available to you. If you know someone with cancer, share this pink paper edition with them and help them see they are not alone and there is help available.
During October, we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month in our country. Pink ribbons can be seen on everything from shirts and hats to bumper stickers to newspapers! But breast cancer happens every day of the year. I encourage every woman to be proactive and get your yearly mammogram. Early detection can save your life!
If you have a loved one who is diagnosed, stand by them and be ready to hold their hand during the bumpy ride. If you know a cancer survivor, celebrate their victory, for they have survived a battle no one should have to endure.
Help me in thanking the Citrus County Chronicle and the advertisers who support this special pink paper edition. Through their efforts, Citrus County residents are being educated in the opportunities available in our community to help cancer patients and make a tough battle just a little easier.
A lifelong resident, Tobey Phillips is active with the American Cancer Society of Citrus County.