October is the month of pink ribbons. We see them on posters, bumper stickers and even on the cleats of professional football players. We see them on flags, windshields and on pins worn by brave survivors and family members fighting together. It seems like we all know someone battling breast cancer, and if we’re lucky, we all know survivors as well. They may be wearing pink tutus and boas, but they walk for awareness, they fight for research and they join together during the month of October to tell the world they can do it, and they will.

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death among women, and research shows that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during her life. The good news is there have been advances in research, technology and early detection over the years that have helped decrease the number of breast cancer related deaths. The month of October is dedicated to research, awareness and prevention and there are always community events or walks to show your support.

In May my staff participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Washington and we became the third highest fundraising team on Capitol Hill. I was incredibly proud of our team and even more proud of all of the men and women that threw on some pink and showed up to support the thousands of women around the nation that fight to be around for all of life’s little milestones.

We can all play a role in helping beat breast cancer by increasing awareness amongst the important women in all of our lives. Personally, I am blessed to have an amazing mother, mother-in-law and countless other female role models that have helped me through the years. They might have been teaching me to tie my shoes, sew on a button or helping me make my first Thanksgiving dinner, but I knew they were always there to guide my family and hold us together. The power and love the females in my life have shown me will forever shape my future. Everyone needs to take a moment and recognize the women in their lives because every woman needs to know the facts, and the fact is, every woman is at risk of developing breast cancer. I know I want to be around for all of life’s little milestones, and breast cancer awareness is a big part of that.

I encourage all South Dakotans to recognize this month and put an extra effort into spreading the word about breast cancer. These women are astonishingly brave and the month of October sheds some light on the issue, but more than anything it gives them hope. Hope that they can beat it, and the resolve to pour more time and resources into early detection and screening.

If you want to know more about how you can get involved in South Dakota, visit: http://www.komensouthdakota.org.

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