October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I’m sure you’ve seen various sports teams wearing pink during their games or flocks of pink flamingos in people’s front lawns. There are so many wonderful ways to bring awareness to this horrible disease that affects both men and women of all ages.

Statistics show that about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Chances are that you might have been affected or know someone that has or is currently battling breast cancer. Just this week, a former colleague of mine was diagnosed and she has bravely shared her story so far, which is completely transparent and compelling.

There are many organizations that support women’s health and specifically raise funds for breast cancer research. Here in Guadalupe County, the local hospital held a free mammogram event earlier this month. Also, there are fundraiser events throughout the year that raise money that specially support those in need who are fighting the good fight. It always amazes to me to see so many people do what they can to help and offer support.

I’ve personally known several women that have battled breast cancer. One was especially dear to me. When I started my career in newspapers back in 2013, one of the first people I met was a fellow advertising rep named Cindy Beach. She was a spitfire and didn’t apologize for anything, as she never needed to. Cindy had two grown children and was living her best life in New Braunfels near her elderly parents.

She was a beloved member of a ladies group that visited various hot spots around town for monthly meetings. She loved the lake, live music and good glass of wine. Her homemade eggnog was famous in our office and we always had to make sure we kept the kids away.

About a year into our friendship, she was diagnosed with liver failure and was quickly added to the transplant list. During this fight, she was also diagnosed with breast cancer that removed her from the transplant list while she received treatment.

The one thing about the company that we work for is that they support their employees through the good and the bad, and they made adjustments to Cindy’s job duties so that she could still work while she received treatments as her spirit and fight never allowed her to quit. Cindy was honored that year at the Bras for a Cause event in New Braunfels and told her brave story. I will always be thankful that we were able to see that wonderful sight. Cindy deserved all the recognition in the world, although she was humble and believed that there were other people out there more deserving.

Cindy passed away in January 2016, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look over my left shoulder in hopes of hearing her wonderfully contagious laugh. She never lost sight of who she was and never asked “why me” rather she said “you picked the wrong girl!”

I encourage everyone to get checked every year, no matter your age or sex. And find out how you can help fight this rapidly growing disease. Even the smallest contribution can make all the difference in the world.

Elizabeth Engelhardt is the publisher for the Seguin Gazette.

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