Rethinking PINK in October- Why Andi Doesn’t Do Pink and What YOU CAN DO To support Breast Cancer Awareness.

Andi Last is a breast cancer survivor. She has LFS and explains why she does not do PINK in October. She also gives us some valuable facts on breast cancer and many ways to TAKE ACTION to help Breast Cancer Patients, Raise Awareness and Actually support Breast Cancer Research. 

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Andi doesn’t do Pink. Courtesy of Andi Last Media.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “Pinktober.” This disease isn’t pink or fun, it’s deadly. If you update your Facebook status for a day or post a silly photo to “raise awareness”, don’t forget to back it up with real action: donate blood, platelets, bone marrow or hair. Donate money to worthy organizations. If you’re of appropriate age, get a mammogram. Links and info below.
“The party atmosphere often surrounding pink ribbon promotions and campaigns conceals the harsh, devastating effects of breast cancer. We are not celebrating a holiday. This is not a sporting event where the side wearing the most team colors wins.”
– from DivineMrsM, a BreastCancer.org forum member with Stage IV incurable breast cancer

Breast cancer awareness isn’t about “saving second base.” Here’s the reality:

-Over 40,000 people will die of breast cancer in the US in 2016.

-There will be over 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the US this year. About 2,600 of them will be men.

-Metastatic breast cancer (spread of the cancer, usually to the brain, liver, lungs or bones) is incurable. Metastatic disease is the initial diagnosis for about 5% of all new U.S. breast cancer cases each year.

-Nearly 3 in 10 women who have had early breast cancer will eventually develop metastatic disease.

-Up to 10% of female breast cancer cases are on account of genetic mutations. BRCA1, BRCA2, p53, CHEK2, ATM and -PALB2 gene mutations have all been linked to breast cancer.
(Stats provided by The American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2015-2016.)
Ultimately, if you have cancer, statistics mean nothing. Reality is either 100% or 0%

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO REALLY HELP:

  • Donate blood, platelets and/or bone marrow BE THE MATCH
    https://bethematch.org/About-us/
  • Donate hair PANTENE MAKE THE CUT
    http://pantene.com/en-us/brandexperience/make-the-cut
  • Donate money.

You can specify that you want it to go to research, and you can check organizations at CharityNavigator.org before deciding where to donate. I personally recommend the following organizations:

While 30% of all breast cancer patients will metastasize
(that is, have their cancer spread to other areas), only about 2% of funding goes to investigate metastatic breast cancer.

These sites support metastatic breast cancer patients:

  • Metastatic Breast Cancer Network http://mbcn.org/get-involved/category/donate
  • Metavivor https://secure.metavivor.org/page/contribute/

DON’T FORGET:


Mutant Vs Monster: Andi Last’s Tale of Li-Fraumeni Syndrome


My name is Andi Last. That’s my husband Jay Last in the video with me. I’m the mutant, and he’s my warrior.

In March 2015, at the age of 41, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not long after, I learned that I have a very rare inherited disorder called Li Fraumeni Syndrome, or LFS, which makes me prone to getting all kinds of different cancers.

In simple terms, we’re all born with two copies of a cancer suppressing gene called TP53, one passed down from each of our parents. In families with LFS, one of those genes is mutated. That’s why some of us call ourselves mutants.

Music, photography and video are things we really enjoy, so doing them was a huge help for both of us in dealing with all of this.

A few months after the worst of the chemo was over, we drove to the desert to photograph Ricardo Breceda’s giant metal sculptures in Borrego Springs, California. The sand serpent really caught our imaginations. While taking photos I said it’d be great to shoot Jay as a knight fighting it with his sword.

He said really I should be fighting it because it reminded him of the monster I’d been dealing with.

I realized he was right, the sculpture is a good analogy for LFS: it’s a massive 350 foot long scary monster with a dragon’s head, a serpent’s body and a rattlesnake tail. It pops up out of the sand and disappears again and you never know where it’s going to show up next.

Li Fraumeni Syndrome is also a massive, scary monster. It can cause many of different kinds of cancer, in kids, adults, and entire families. If you have LFS you might get multiple types of cancer throughout your life – or even at one time.

Since I’m not fighting LFS alone, we decided we would fight the monster together in photos as well. And thus, the Mutant Vs Monster project was born.

Over a few months we put together costumes and did a series of shoots with the sculpture in the desert. What we thought would be a few pictures turned into a much larger project.

It was an expression of our creativity and a way to deal with some pretty lousy circumstances, but it has also turned into a great opportunity to raise awareness and support for LFS.

You can visit http://MutantVsMonster.com to see these photos and read our story. And you can make donations to the LFS Association, and to Living LFS, which is a mutant support organization. And we mutants thank you!

Mutant vs Monster

 

Special Mutant thanks to Andi Last and her husband Jay.  For more of their work check out Lastproductions.net.