1 in 7: What October means to us

Why we’re supporting Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer is highly personal to many of us at MakerSights. It’s a tragic disease that has altered many lives, and caused sadness for hundreds of thousands of families around the world. 

Beyond the immediate challenges, breast cancer has many ramifications for women that aren’t as widely known. The financial impact is huge. Many women have to leave lucrative jobs and have to totally reinvent themselves if they are lucky enough to survive. Others, devastated as they continue to fight, forced out of their jobs, are stuck reinventing their routines just to keep up with treatments while carrying themselves through the fight. 

This month, we asked a few of our team members to reflect on how the disease has affected their lives and the lives of their friends and families. We reflect on what the opportunity to support this cause at MakerSights means to us. The stories share why we have passionately chosen to support Breast Cancer Awareness this month.

We are donating to BCEF:  https://bcef.org/about-us/bcef-story/

Joan Maxwell

1 in 7.  That’s what my surgeon told me when I asked her why I had breast cancer.  “It’s an epidemic,” she said. A few complications, 9 surgeries, and 2+ years – I’m breast cancer free.  One of the lucky ones.  

We (here at MakerSights) care about breast cancer.  As the only 67 year old and breast cancer survivor here, I speak for all of us when I say that every one of us has been touched in some way by this epidemic.  

Why does MakerSights care about breast cancer awareness month?  Awareness (at least in part from years of October Breast Cancer Awareness Months) has changed this disease.  The 5- and 10-year relative survival rates for women with invasive breast cancer are 90% and 83%, respectively.  The investment in research, the early detection, the support for those on the journey are all so important. However, in the U.S. in 2019, there will still be an estimated 271,270 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women and 2,670 cases diagnosed in men.  These are still big numbers. And because of our mutual personal experiences, we know that each of these individuals have a tough road ahead.  

We are a team here at MakerSights.  I’ve never worked any place where everyone (yes, literally everyone) is truly curious, caring, and compassionate.  So we will do our small part to contribute to making this October a little bit better. And I will continue to love being part of this special group of people.  

Zack Evans

written by Zack’s mom, Jean Evans who is a breast Cancer Survivor and daughter of breast cancer survivor Diane Martin

Twenty-five years ago when my mother told me she had breast cancer, the year I got engaged, my whole world turned upside down. I was living in South Carolina, 1,000 miles from my family and I felt helpless. Your priorities immediately shift and you consider moving back home to help out.  

My mom assured me she was fine and we would deal with things as they came.  I had three younger brothers and I envisioned giving up my life to help raise them if the worst happened. Gladly, although it was a tough year with surgeries, chemo and radiation, she survived and life went on. 

I was super vigilant in getting my annual mammograms, starting in my 30’s rather than my 40’s, given my family history.  Then came that fateful day when my mammogram results came back positive and I was told I had breast cancer at age 46, the very same age my mother was when she was first diagnosed. 

Again, your priorities immediately shift and things that seemed important at the time faded away. The most important thing to me was to get healthy and attack this beast head on. Thankfully, due to the love and support of my husband, sons and family, I was able to follow a similar treatment path as my mother and now count myself as one of the lucky survivors. 

Early detection is key. I had genetic counseling and discovered I carry the BRCA 1 gene mutation.  This makes sense since my mother and I are breast cancer survivors. This impacts our family in that this genetic mutation can be carried down through my sons to their daughters should they have them.  

Men with a BRCA 1 history have a higher risk of prostate cancer in their later years and female offspring can also develop breast cancer at higher rates.  I am thankful for my early detection and excellent medical care and the love and support of my family. Without them, I would not be where I am today! Good health is something we might all take for granted but when it is gone or compromised, you realize how lucky you were.  Don’t take your life or good health for granted. It can be gone in a fleeting moment.

Adam New-Waterson

This year it has been seventy years since my grandmother passed away from breast & ovarian cancer. That number is mind boggling, 70 years ago. My mother was 4 years old when her mother passed. 

In the 1970s, when genetic testing was beginning, the women in my family volunteered to undergo a series of genetic tests, ones that twenty years later would help prove the existence of BRCA1 & BRCA2 mutations.

My father found the original lump in my mom’s left breast in 1978. She had a mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy. In 1980, her right breast tested positive, again another mastectomy, radiation and chemo. 

Shortly thereafter she got pregnant. The doctors told her because of the radiation & chemo that it was a prudent idea to have an abortion. They suggested she wait a few years to try to get pregnant when the chemicals were less likely to cause birth defects. I am lucky she declined to take that advice and I was born in 1981. 

The cancer returned in 1982, but my mom was a fighter. She was determined not to leave me without a mother the way the disease had left her. In 1983, she was cancer free!  For my childhood and teenage years she was a survivor. 

When she got sick again, I was in college. As she started her cocktail of newer aggressive chemo therapies, I knew things were different this time. A few months after my 21st birthday, I was in a final exam when a knock at the door informed me that she’d passed in the hour since I’d left her side. 

In the 18 years since her passing, I continually look for ways to harness that motivation to push forward. As a carrier of the mutant BRCA 1 & 2 genes, I am 8 times more likely to develop cancer than a man with normal genes. Like so many others, breast cancer has taught me to be a fighter, giving me the courage to speak my truth. It motivates me daily to remember, there is no time like the present to GSD. So LFG.

On behalf of the entire MakerSights team. Please join us in donating to BCEF to have an immediate impact on the lives of individuals struggling with the ramifications of this terrible disease. Together we can make a big impact in meaningful ways. 

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