As I walked the halls of Piedmont Newton Hospital recently in preparation for our Breast Cancer Awareness special to be published Wednesday, Oct. 14, I was overwhelmed by the number of eyes peering down at me.
Those eyes belonged to the women of Newton County who have defeated breast cancer and survived the agony and affliction that comes with it. And it was in that moment, my own eyes were opened.
I know the dangers of breast cancer and realize the disease is one of the leading killers among women across the globe.
I know the dreadful disease has touched nearly everyone’s life in some shape or form.
According to BreastCancer.org, about 1 in 8 American women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their life.
In 2020, more than 275,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with more than 48,000 non-invasive cases.
But when I saw the dozens of beautiful, strong, courageous faces of our survivors in Newton County, I was provided a new outlook: there’s a lot more to breast cancer than a clipboard of statistics.
That “1 in 8” is a person.
“1 in 8” has a name, a family, a life.
She’s someone close to you — your mother, grandmother, sister, daughter and wife. She is your lovely neighbor across the street. She is your waitress at your favorite eatery that always serves you with a smile. She’s your Sunday School teacher. She’s your best friend of 15 years.
She’s also the person you’ve never met, sitting across the room or standing next to you.
The unfortunate truth is “1 in 8” is much more than a number, and I hope we’ll never forget it.
Taylor Beck is the publisher and editor of The Covington News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.