I am constantly amazed at the courage displayed by my family, friends, and colleagues who are engaged in a battle with breast cancer. Today is going to be a very tough day for a friend of long-standing and former co-worker, Robin Colbert. Robin and I worked together for years at the Mid-West Family Broadcast Group in Madison, until she moved up to be news director for WIBA-AM and its Clear Channel sister stations in Madison. Her two-year battle with breast cancer has led her to the point where she’ll spend most of this gorgeous early fall day in an operating room at UW-Hospital, where she’ll undergo a double mastectomy and hysterectomy.
Robin courageously went VERY public with her breast cancer battle yesterday from 10 to 11 AM on Mitch Henck’s show on WIBA-AM, telling the high-rated station’s scores of listeners how it all started nearly two years ago, when she felt that tell-tale lump while doing a self-examination in the shower. Joining Robin and Mitch was Dr. Lee Wilke, the newly-arrived head of the Breast Program at the UW’s Carbone Cancer Center. Robin and Dr. WIlke both took calls from the listeners, while Robin’s father – veteran Madison radio newsman John Colbert – sat in the adjacent news studio listening to his daughter recount her story of tests, biopsies, chemotherapy, and now – recurrence.
I don’t know where these women find the courage to be so public about something so emotional, so frightening, so….personal. Another long-standing friend and former radio news colleague from the Fox Valley, Sheree, boldly documented her fight with breast cancer a year ago on her Facebook page, with photos after each chemo treatment at the UW. She even posted pictures of “Bald Sheree”, when the treatments caused her hair to fall out. “Bald Sheree” is back as her Facebook profile picture, as we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and she’s posting a regular series of “thinking pink” status updates this month.
These are some strong, strong women.
My wife had a breast cancer scare a few years back that gave us some extremely anxious moments, but the expert doctors and technicians at UW-Health were able to determine that it wasn’t cancer. My sister Lynn is a five-year breast cancer survivor.
As you go about your business on this beautiful, warm, early fall day, take a moment to think about my friend Robin, who is spending this day on an operating table at UW-Hospital, fighting breast cancer with cold, hard surgical steel. And then, please – take another moment to send what you can to the National Breast Cancer Organization, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, or your favorite breast cancer charity. It only takes a few clicks of your mouse.
It doesn’t take anywhere near as much courage to donate money, as it does to go through what my friends and family have. It’s time to really kick cancer’s ass.