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October, often anticipated for the beginning of fall and Halloween, is also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the time to celebrate, honor and remember all those who have fought, or are currently fighting breast cancer. Whether it’s your mom, aunt, sister, cousin, grandmother, niece or friend, you’ve probably known or heard of someone who has had breast cancer.

This month is especially important to me because I lost my mother to breast cancer almost five years ago. My mother was beautiful, loving, supporting and caring of all those around her. She suffered many illnesses in her life, but the biggest was cancer.

My mother battled breast cancer twice in her life. The second time was a shock to us both. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, which over a course of a year spread from her breasts to her lungs, liver and brain. It was a difficult time coming to terms with the fact she was dying, but she remained strong-willed and hopeful in front of myself and our family. Then came the moment when her doctor told us none of her chemo treatments were working and she had less than six months to live. Two days later, she was gone. I was a wreck, but I knew she fought long and hard, and I was grateful for her strength. Although it’s still difficult to not miss her every day, I remain strong and try to honor her by not only sharing her story, but by spreading awareness of this disease.

No matter who you’re fighting for — or even if breast cancer has not personally touched your life — there are ways to raise awareness for the cause right here in Central Florida.

Susan G. Komen will hold its annual Race for the Cure, one of the largest breast cancer fundraising events — held across four continents with more than 1 million participants. The 19th annual Central Florida Race for the Cure will take place Oct. 18 at the Oviedo Mall. The fundraising goal is $500,000 and so far, about $39,000 has been raised.

And before you slip into your snazzy Halloween costume, throw on some pink for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Halloween morning. The event, which will be held at Lake Eola at 9 a.m., aims to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Other organizations, such as the National Breast Cancer Foundation, provides free mammograms and breast health services to women with financial troubles. The retail store Dillard’s is hosting Fit for the Cure, an event partnered with bra brand Wacoal, which will donate $2 for every woman who gets fitted in a Wacoal or b.tempt’d bra. The company will donate an additional $2 for every Wacoal bra purchased.

This month is important to patients as it helps shed light on a terrible disease and offers them support throughout their difficult journey. It’s important to family members of those affected as well, offering a sense of community. No matter your relationship with breast cancer, let’s make the month of October a little more pink.

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Brittany White is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.

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