‘As painful as this picture is for me to see, it hurts even more this could become ANY ONE OF YOU. I know I’m a lucky one.’

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“My name is Mary Katherine Backstrom.

I am 35 years old and I am a breast cancer survivor.

Why do I show you my face? Why do I show you my pain? Why do I reveal these heart-breaking scars?

I’ll tell you why.

Because as painful as this picture is for me to see, it hurts even more to consider this could very well become ANY ONE OF YOU.

Did you know breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women?

Did you know there is a 1 in 8 chance that you will be diagnosed with breast cancer in your lifetime?

My friends, I don’t want to accept that. I can’t.

We have to fight back, all of us.

Please, please, please. I beg of you: be diligent.

*Perform regular breast exams.

*Begin a dialogue with your primary care provider about genetic risks you may have.

*Donate money to the groups doing *actual* research. (metavivor.org)

*Make healthy life changes to reduce your risk of breast cancer. You are worth it. Your LIFE is worth it.

You see, as hard as this week has been, I still know that I’m a lucky one. My diagnosis was early, and I had options. I am beyond grateful for the terrible options that I had.

Too many of us won’t get so many choices.

Which is why, my dear friends, I simply couldn’t let this teachable moment pass me by.

Look at what breast cancer has done. Look at what it can do.

I am just a 35-year-old mama who wants to see her babies grow up, and I’m doing everything I can to make that happen.

For me, that was radical surgery.

For you, it can be as simple as regular self-exams.

Promise me you will.

Promise.”

Breast Cancer Survivor
Courtesy Mary Katherine Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. The article originally appeared here. Follow Mary on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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