October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
By Diego Flammini
Farms.com is looking for women in the ag community to share their stories of overcoming breast cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and throughout the month, Farms.com wants to speak with farmers, agronomists, industry reps and other women in ag to highlight their journeys with this illness.
In Canada, about one in eight women will develop breast cancer. And one in 34 women will die from it, the Canadian Cancer Society says.
And more than 297,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. in 2023, the American Cancer Society estimates.
Farms.com hopes women who are comfortable sharing their stories will inspire others to do the same.
“A number of our staff members in the Farms.com Group of companies have been impacted by this disease, and we know a number of women that we work with in the ag community have also been impacted. We want any women in the ag community going through breast cancer treatments to know they are not alone in this fight,” said Denise Faguy, director of marketing & operations with Farms.com.
“We also know that access to treatments when you live in a rural area can be challenging, and that’s why we want to hear your stories,”continues Faguy. “Luckily we also know the ag community normally rally together to help one another facing these circumstances.”
“We hope sharing stories of courage and perseverance, as well as community, will help other women in their journeys to recovery.”
Farms.com has spoken with breast cancer survivors in the past.
In 2022, for example, Alberta agronomist Katie Cowie shared how she felt after finishing treatment that June.
“You lose a sense of security a bit because you’re no longer receiving the treatment that keeps the cancer away,” she told Farms.com. “The monitoring afterwards is a fine line between thinking I’m being over cautious or if I’m imagining things. It’s always in the back of your mind.”
That year, Wendy Schatz Leeds, an agronomist from Saskatchewan, also spoke about her breast cancer journey, which occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because we didn’t know how COVID would react with me, I didn’t leave my house, other than for my treatments, until I got my first vaccination,” she said. “I had friends visit through the window. It felt like I was in jail, and I think that’s where a lot of my anxiety came from. I wish I had been able to go out for tea during the day or went to watch my friends curl.”
Also in 2022, Farms.com spoke with Karin Bright, a farmer from Athens, Ohio.
She beat breast cancer twice – once in 1999 and again in 2005.
“You just have to keep going,” she said. “If you need to have a cry or pound the walls, that’s okay. But when you’re dealt a hand, you have to play that hand. If I’m going to curl up in a corner and not live my life, I may as well die anyway.”
And in 2021, Farms.com connected with Jackie Kelly-Pemberton, a farmer from Dundas County, Ont., about her experience with breast cancer after receiving her diagnosis in 2020.
“The first thoughts that went through my mind are ‘what’s next?’ and ‘what’s the plan of attack?’” she told Farms.com. “Just like the planting and growing seasons. And like farming, there were hiccups in my treatment that required changes, but I came through it very well.”
Any women interested in sharing their stories with Farms.com can contact Diego Flammini by email or at 1-888-248-4893, ext. 208.