• Chelsea Michelle

There’s more than just wearing Pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Updated: May 26, 2020

When I was 14 I worked in a micro-surgeon, plastic surgery office. Mostly my job was filing but occasionally I would have the opportunity to catalog the before and after pictures. Due to the speciality of the plastic surgeons, a lot of the woman who would come in for breast augmentations would be breast cancer survivors.

That was my first introduction to breast cancer; shortly after I learned that my step-mothers mother was a cancer surviver. To show support of her and many others, my step-mom took me to my first Susan G. Komen walk. It was amazing!! Honestly, I am a pretty empathetic person; many things affect me deeply and being around so many woman and mothers was beyond emotional and inspirational!

Now that I am a mother, there are many topics I want to discuss with my children. Even at an early age, so we can continually build on that knowledge as they get older; especially about sensitive topics. More than anything, I would like my children to have a sense of empathy, to be able to put theirselves in someone else’s shoes easily and effortlessly. To do this, we need communication and knowledge.

So here are a few book recommendations to help us all open the conversation around breast cancer:

Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings – Ellen McVicker – Illustrated by Nanci Hersh an award winning artist and cancer surviver. This book geared towards children is told through the eyes of a boy, as he explains his mom’s cancer to other children. Also available in Spanish.

In Mommy’s Garden – Neyal J. Ammary, MPH, MCHES – If you’re  looking for a book showcasing a little diversity, this book is illustrated with multiple skin tones and without faces so every child can see themselves in the images. This story revolves around a little girl whose mother has cancer and touches on a childs’ fear  if cancer is contagious and of the emotions a child faces when their mother is no longer able to play with them. Also available in Spanish.

My Mommy has Breast Cancer, But She’s OK! – Kerri Marie Conner – Follow Madison and her mom along their journey of love, hope, and recovery. Kerri is the daughter of a breast cancer surviver but writes this book based on her own battle with breast cancer.

Nowhere Hair – Sue Glader – Written in rhyme, a little girl knows her moms hair is no longer on her head, so it must be somewhere. Explaining hats, scarves, wigs, going bald in public, and the idea of being nice to people who may look a little different than you. Also available in Spanish.

Henry and the White Wolf – Tyler and Tim Karu – Told through animal characters, a young hedgehog gets sick and loses his fur and quills and his mother seeks the white wolf for help.

Here are a few for older children/teens:

My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks – Maya Silver – Real life advice from real life teens. How to talk about the diagnosis, best outlets for stress, how to deal with friends,  and whether to tell your teachers and counselors are just a few of the topics covered by medical professionals and over 100 real stories from teens.

Making it Mine: Stories of Teens Who Found Themselves in their Parents Cancer – Brie Bernhardt  – A combination of stories, interviews, quotes, poems, and pages for reflection that allow the reader to process their own journey through other teens who have already been there.

Our Family Has Cancer Too! – Christine Clifford – A  interactive cartoon style book for ages 9-12 that encourages dialogue between parents and children.

Both Sides Now – Ruth Pennebaker – The life of a 15 year old girl is turned upside down by her mothers diagnosis of cancer.

Nana, What’s Cancer – Beverlye Hyman Fead – Young scientists will appreciate this matter o fact book that explains cancer to kids. Written by a real grandmother and granddaughter duo.

I hope some of these books can help you and your child learn about cancer and how to help others surrounded by it.

If you are looking for some events to help supplement information, here are just a few activities happening around the permian basin for Breast Cancer Awareness 2019:

 PINK IN THE BASIN – Saving True Pairs Clay Shoot – 10/11/2019 – 8TH Annual sporting clays event; must register.

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY – Making Strides of Midland – 10/19/2019 – must register or join a team!

AMERICAN LEGION – Kid’s Que for a Cause – 10/11/2019 – this is the 3RD Annual Kid’s Que in conjunction with the 19TH Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Cook Off.

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