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Everyone has an aunt Joyce

Joyce McCants.

That name my not mean much to you, but it meant the world to me.

Joyce was my aunt. She was like my mother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer almost four years ago. I was in college at Auburn when it happened, so I didn’t see first-hand what she had to suffer through. It was only through family accounts and her humble tales that I learned about the entire situation.

Until this point, I didn’t exactly know what chemotherapy or radiation was or consisted of. All I knew was that it was something that other people went through. Not anyone in my family. To my knowledge, Joyce is the only person in my family to have been stricken with the disease.

She passed away this past February.

The phrase “struggling with cancer” actually began to mean something to me.

That’s why it’s importance to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s important to be educated on the subject whether or not you personally know someone struggling.

A year ago this month, I wrote a series on women in Madison who had struggled with cancer.

There was Gayle Milam, who had ovarian and colon cancer. Tricia Pitts, who had successfully beaten breast cancer. The most memorable was Lou Covington. She didn’t have the disease, but her mother’s battle with it led her to open a boutique catered to women with cancer. She sells wigs, turbans, breast prosthesis and hospital gowns, among other items.

It wasn’t until heard these women’s stories and saw the pain in their eyes that I realized that cancer is everyone’s problem.

Maybe it’s a shame that it took me losing a relative to see what pink truly symbolizes, but I’m doing my best to champion the cause and give my support. You should, too.

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