I have had an overwhelming response of e-mails from those of you who have read my column these past few weeks. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to share your stories. You compliment me on my courage and determination, but let me throw that right back at you.
Many of you who have written have been caretakers of a loved one with cancer. You have experienced real suffering. To be at the side of a loved one and essentially be a cheerleader, a provider of strength and spiritual guidance, a companion to and from treatments and a caretaker at home is strength personified. I can’t imagine the hurt from your loss and the emotional toll that it has taken on all of you. You are real heroes. You are angels.
One of the e-mails I received was from a man who had just lost his 47-year-old wife to cancer six weeks ago. He wrote, "My love left me and her two teenagers behind. Her life was cut short, and there were so many things we did not get to do, but at least there was nothing left unsaid. Her pain is now gone."
Imagine this gentleman taking the time to encourage me to keep up the fight with all that he must be dealing with himself? I am overwhelmed by this generosity of spirit.
Another person wrote about losing his mother and ended the note with, “Forget the odds and chances, you already beat them. Visualize your future grandchildren, and hold on to that. That is your reality. I wish you so much more success.”
I never imagined that by writing a weekly column, I would receive more that I would give. What an eye opener. I am forever humbled and grateful.
When I started my foundation, I felt that men had been marginalized and had been made to feel that “girlfriends” or other women were the best support a person diagnosed with breast cancer could have. That was the message I heard from all these breast cancer walks. I disagreed.
I felt men needed a voice, and that is why I started MEN FOR WOMEN NOW. This initiative encourages men to ask the women they love (mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend) to make an appointment for a mammogram and a pap smear. The reality today is that early detection offers the greatest chance of survival.
I want to bring together an Army of Men who will fight for women. Men who will take an active roll in motivating the women they love to go for screenings. Men who will make a difference.
Please join me in this fight by joining Men for Women Now. We will send you updates on upcoming events, relevant news and ways that you can help. It will allow me to stay in touch with more of you so that together we can make a meaningful difference.
I look forward to seeing and speaking with you more soon.
Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is co-founder of STAND UP TO CANCER and co-produced the TV show, which raised 100 million dollars for cancer research. Noreen went on to create the Noreen Fraser Foundation to raise money and awareness for women's cancer research. The 'Men for Women Now' program enlists men to ask the women they love to make appointments for their mammogram and pap smear. Noreen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.