This entry was written by Lisa Katharina Messer, winner and spokesperson for the Under Armour Power in Pink campaign. As winner, Under Armour will donate $5,000 to a charity of Lisa’s choice. Lisa chose LBBC!
This morning I am lucky enough to be in Santa Monica, CA for a Power in Pink event to raise awareness of the importance of exercise while battling breast cancer. I have to keep pinching myself. Sitting on the veranda of the hotel, overlooking the beach, I am quietly thanking both Jean Sachs, CEO of LBBC, and Under Armour for this amazing opportunity. Today my life feels like a real-life Hollywood story.
Three years ago today, I was frantically trying to find a reconstruction surgeon and losing sleep because one question kept running through my mind…How do I wake up on October 26th and go to the hospital to have both my breasts removed? How do you say goodbye to part of your body that is so very personal? I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined at that time, that my life would be what it is today. A passionate survivor, a daughter reunited with her father, a winning triathlete and a Power in Pink campaign spokesperson. How on earth did I get here?
Shortly after my diagnosis I reached out to LBBC. I felt so very fortunate to know Jean. She helped me interpret my complex pathology report. She directed me to a qualified second opinion and helped me navigate the multi-faceted medical system. As an educator, I love to learn and have always believed that knowledge is power. Learning how to fight my breast cancer intellectually, and physically, helped me transcend the pain and suffering that comes with being diagnosed. LBBC’s educational materials are warm and thoughtfully written. I wish the Guide for the Newly Diagnosed was handed to me immediately after I learned I had DCIS. That brochure should be handed to every single person who first receives the shocking news of having a breast cancer diagnosis. The LBBC transcripts of medical conferences provided me with the knowledge to help make informed decisions about my treatment and reconstruction options. Information is a powerful tool when battling cancer – and there is so much out there! LBBC was a comfort because I trusted that the information came from qualified, up-to-date sources.
Jean called me over the summer to inform me about the PIP contest. Her faith in my story gave me the courage to enter the contest, but I really never thought that I would be lucky enough to win. I read the compelling stories posted on the UA website and all of them were unique, heart wrenching, and empowering. All of them were about women facing the odds and fighting for their lives. I am just one of so many, many survivors. Being part of this campaign is such an honor because there are so many survivors that are intrepid, beautiful, and deserving of this opportunity. Being able to participate in a campaign that will donate funds to LBBC fills my heart with joy because LBBC helped me during a time in my life where I was often lost and deeply frightened.
Crossing the finish line of my very first triathlon, five months after my reconstruction surgery, was possible only because of the support I received from friends, family, my treatment team and of course Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I am so humbled to be part of the PIP campaign and so very grateful to be able to give back to LBBC in some small way. As a survivor, I know how lucky I am to be healthy right now. There are still so many people still fighting. We all know someone battling this disease. My goal is to keep crossing finish lines that raise money to battle this disease and raise awareness about the importance of exercise while fighting cancer. It is my hope that my strength will help others cross their own survivor finish line. I will continue to swim for sanity, bike a new path as a survivor, and run for those who cannot.