One day in September 2010, my mom came over to my room, sat me down and broke the news to me – she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. My heart sank and I couldn’t breathe. For weeks, all I could think of was the possibility of losing her and how she hadn’t even been able to watch my siblings and I graduate, work, get married, have kids, etc.
I knew she had a visit to the hospital that day for her regular check ups, but really, she went in to get her diagnosis from the doctor after a mammogram when she noticed a suspicious lump in her right breast via self-examination. Thankfully though, the cancer cells hadn’t spread to her lymph nodes.
My family has no history of breast cancers or any cancers for that matter. You should also know that my mother is relatively a healthy person as she doesn’t smoke or drink, hates red meat, and loves her fruits and vegetables. Yet, this vicious disease chose to attack her and I never would have imagined this nightmare would occur to my beloved family.
In October that year, she had her lumpectomy surgery to remove a portion of her right breast and following that, she chose not to do chemotherapy, which would be invasive to her general health. Instead, she underwent 20 sessions of radiotherapy treatments and followed up closely with traditional Chinese medication. She now carries a scar of a warrior.
Fast forward to early this year, my mom was approached by the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia to be a part of something very inspiring and encouraging. Along with 11 other breast cancer survivors, she had the lifetime opportunity of being a model for a 2016 calendar which was to be sold to raise funds for the ongoing awareness of breast cancer.
When she first told me it was an underwater photo shoot, I ridiculed her (LOL!). It’s already challenging for real models, so what more for average everyday women like my mom? For each month of the calendar, these women had to demonstrate a hobby they were most passionate about. My mother chose baking.
Even though I wasn’t part of the shoot, I was present to witness how it all went down. Let me just break it to you – it really wasn’t an easy task. The photographer, who so very kindly volunteered to do this for free, obviously had his frustrations when coordinating the shoot for each model as they had different props underwater.
Having said that, I think the photos turned out fantastic and I could never be more proud of my mother, or shall I say .. Miss February. 😀
The You’re Not Alone 2016 calendar is available for sale right now and is priced at RM30 each. You can place an order for the calendar by sending an email to [email protected] or by visiting XIXILI’s Love My Life breast cancer awareness campaign booth at the Ground Floor, Highstreet, 1 Utama Shopping Centre until this Sunday (25th October 2015). Aside from that, you can also place an order for the calendar via http://lavieflo.com/.
This cause is extremely close to my heart, and I hope that you would take the time to do your part for charity and support the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia to help them sustain their efforts in raising awareness for breast cancer, and help out women who may be in need of support, whether financially or emotionally.