October - a time for pumpkin spice lattes, cool weather, and sweaters! Most importantly, October is reserved for Breast Cancer Awareness, a fight that is close to the heart of KK&S Designs. Did you know that according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF), on average, every two minutes there is a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer somewhere in the United States? This year alone, the NBCF estimates 287,500 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the US which means many of us will likely know someone affected by the disease if we already don’t. For ourselves and our communities, we have got to do our part to combat these numbers and look out for each other! It’s time to fight like a girl.
Today we’re going to get into the importance of self-care and spreading awareness, how to be a support system, and how we try to bring back a bit of brightness when times get dark. Keep reading with us and see exactly what it means to fight like a girl.
Preemptive Care as Self-Care
As the second most common cancer found in women throughout the United States, it is essential that women are getting frequent screenings done. If you are the one in eight women who will be affected, you want to be sure that you’re getting it detected early!
A great place to start could be self-checks. As advised by the Mayo Clinic, these should be frequent. No one’s asking that you do them everyday, but make a habit of doing it throughout the month - do it on a schedule if you need to! Some things to keep an eye out for when you’re doing your self-checks are visible lumps, swelling, change in shape or size, nipple change, and if you’re having any pain. If you’re experiencing any of these or a combination - schedule an appointment with your provider to ensure all is okay.
Whether you choose to self-check frequently or semi-frequently, you can’t replace professional screenings. As WebMD reports: starting at the age of 20 - you need to have a breast exam performed by a professional every year to three years; for those over 40, make sure you’re getting these exams done yearly, as your risks are higher than normal. If you are struggling to find somewhere to get the exam done, you can ask a general provider for more information or see if you qualify for one of the CDC’s Early Detection Programs in your area. Supposing you are diagnosed with breast cancer - please know you are not alone. Your support system is worldwide!
Spreading Awareness & Support
Every year we have one month fully dedicated to breast cancer awareness. I’m here to tell you - that support should scope far beyond one month. Breast Cancer doesn’t affect women only in October but Breast Cancer Awareness Month can be a place to jumpstart year-long habits.
A good topic to begin with can be pushing more women to understand the importance of self-care and early detection. The best way to spread awareness is through word of mouth - tell people - your friends and family are more likely to listen to you than just any blog they find by chance. Make preemptive care a part of your general self-care and post about it all over your social media. You can even wear a sign of your support to help start a conversation. For those affected by the disease, you can also share your stories! Help others see the people before the disease. Whatever way is best for you to spread awareness - do that.
As for showing support for those who have and are currently struggling with their breast cancer diagnosis - there are many ways to do so! For starters, you can just simply be there for them. Lending a listening ear, some compassion, and some understanding can ease the load they’re feeling. You could even join them in an emotional support group! What’s most important, if you truly want to be there for a survivor, is finding what help looks like to them. Let them know they have people willing to fight with them.
Bringing a New Perspective to Supporting Survivors
Since 2021, KK&S Designs has begun curating a collection of designs geared towards promoting awareness and supporting survivors, which, as founder Tracey Fowlkes puts it, is inspired by the warriors in her life. The creation of For A Cause stems from Tracey’s relationship with her Aunt Barbara Ann, who was diagnosed 3 times and passed several years ago, and her cousin Latonya, who was diagnosed at the age of 34 and is now in remission.
It was her cousin, however, that made Tracey see things from a different perspective. Instead of taking the news with an understandable tone of fear or grief, Latonya turned her sorrow into joy and threw herself a Breast Cancer diagnosis party. She wore her joy as armor and remained in high spirits even through the hard times, pushing through her battle like a champion. Yet even so, those around Latonya saw how the disease impacted her life: from how she cared for her family, to her losing her hair and finding ways to keep her sanity.
Most importantly, Latonya wasn’t alone. She had the support of her friends and family to help her along the way, something Tracey wants to be for others. As such, the funds that are raised through the sales of the For A Cause collection are used to help those battling the disease as a way to make things just a little bit easier and give them a chance to smile when it is hard. With designs meant to celebrate the survivors in your life, the proceeds from these sales have been used to send care packages, meals and professional cleaning services to those affected by breast cancer - something we hope can ease their burdens more directly and bring a little hope to a daunting experience.
Wrap Up, Resources & Give Away Announcement
Whatever way you choose to do get involved, we hope we've inspired you and given a new perspective into the different ways we can all contribute. If you're interested in learning more about some of the things mentioned today, you can find any medical information, statics, and outreach services that have been referend are hyperlinked within the article itself when appropriate. Please be sure to check out the linked articles on breast cancer for more information.
If you’ve stuck around to the end, great! We need your help. This year KK&S Designs is taking nominations throughout the month of October. One individual and one runner up, who are or have battled breast cancer, will be given a free gift from KK&S Designs. Make sure you do anything you can to show that these individuals are not alone in the fight. To all the survivors, we see you and we stand with you. Let’s keep pushing for cures. Let’s keep pushing for early detection. Let’s keep pushing for hope!