When my friend and fellow professional golfer, Heather Farr, was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a shock to her family, friends and the world of professional golf. Women are not supposed to get breast cancer at age 24, and they are not supposed to die at 28. Her death meant there needed to be a stronger message sent to caution young women about the disease.
After much time investigating and identifying the appropriate way to raise awareness among young women in our country, the Val Skinner Foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey worked together to co-conceptualize the young women's initiative, a multifaceted approach to educating young women as well as healthcare providers regarding breast cancer risks and early breast cancer detection.
As we celebrate our 15th annual LIFE Event this year, I’m tremendously proud of what has been accomplished with friends of the Val Skinner Foundation and our benefactors. We have raised more than $9 million for scientific research, launched early-detection programs and provided clinical support for those affected by breast cancer.
I am also reminded of our LIFE heroes, the annual honorees who have shared their stories of perseverance in battling breast cancer, and how each found a way to give back to others in the same situation. I think of Heather every day and know she is cheering us on to stay the course for several of our LIFE heroes and many others still struggling to survive. We can’t forget what happened to her and her memory is why we continue the fight.
There is more work to do, which is why we turn towards the 15th Life Event with tremendous gratitude for those who have helped us in the fight and unending hope that the women of future generations won’t have to fight at all.