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Becky Olson: Breast Cancer Speaker Learns New Lessons

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What happens to one, happens to all.

This month is breast cancer awareness month. It’s been a busy month for me as a speaker. But this month also taught me new lessons. For the first time, I was invited to speak in an international community. I am writing this message from Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. I was here to participate in the Lyons Club of Tropical Gardens “Breast Cancer Awareness District Meetings.”

Though I was brought to this island to teach, I also learned. I learned about the power of a close-knit community. I learned about love and compassion. And I learned a valuable new lesson.

Liz Smith, who invited me and was instrumental in gathering support for the cause told me, “What happens to one happens to all,” in response to a question I had about security at the schools.

Part of my activities here on this tropical paradise was to speak at the middle school as well as at the high school. My husband and I noticed that the schools were surrounded by heavy security, locked fences with gates and uniformed officers in the hallways. I asked Liz why so much security. She told me it was to keep bad people from coming in to harm the children. She went on to say, “What happens to one happens to all.”

I witnessed the same thing again when there was news of a traffic collision between a small car and a truck. The driver of the small car was killed. This is news we hear everyday in my home town of Portland, OR. But in Portland, news of this nature goes unnoticed unless it happens close to home or involves someone we know.

Here on this beautiful little island, everything is close to home. Everywhere I went, people lamented over the horrible accident. The news was announced on the television while I was waiting in the lobby of the local TV station for my appearance on their morning show, “Daybreak.” As the news was presented, all the guests who were in the lobby with me sent up a quick prayer though they didn’t even know yet who the victim was.

A week ago a woman was killed at the hands of a domestic abuser. Again, the community came together to pray and children at the high school became involved in a fundraising program to raise awareness on the issues of domestic violence.

What happens to one happens to all.

In my world of breast cancer, we meet many people who suffer from the scare of a diagnosis, the affects of treatment and the fear of dying. It is our job to reassure these women by providing emotional support at the moment of diagnosis, physical support while they are too ill to care for themselves or their families, and hope to support them as they transition through the process and into survivorship. Without that support, many will fall into an abyss and end up trying to make this difficult journey alone.

What happens to one happens to all.

Becky Olson is a professional keynote speaker and author. Her inspiration comes from her experience as a two-time breast cancer survivor and co-founder of a successful non-profit, Breast Friends in Oregon. Becky left her career in sales and sales management to pursue her dream of speaking and writing. He book, "The Hat That Saved My Life," was first published in 2004. Becky now travels all over the country sharing hope and inspiration to women suffering through the same disease that one time threatened her life.

Visit Becky at her websites:

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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