November 2nd, 2013
I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the Seattle 3-Day Route Safety crew with Tom since 2010 (he rides a Harley). Tom’s wife Colleen is a six-year breast cancer survivor – she walked in 2009 before they both decided they wanted to be a part of the crew.
Their devotion to each other is obvious within minutes of first meeting them, and the pink ribbon tattoo on Tom’s forearm illustrates the depth of their love. The ribbon is flanked by their footprints (bear for him), walking side-by-side.
I love the rougher edges on the ribbon and I still get a little teary when I look at the footprints and imagine them going through Colleen’s cancer journey together.
I look forward to working on the Seattle 3-Day Route Safety crew with Tom again and supporting Colleen as she walks in 2014!
Help Colleen reach her fundraising goal early!
October 31st, 2013
I met Blanche at a fundraising event for Team Tracy this summer, but she’s member of The Pink Penguins 3-Day team (and former co-captain of top 3 team Hello Cupcake) She’s also good friends and teammates with Aubrey, whose hope tattoo was featured earlier this month.
Blanche turned 40 in 2004 and decided to walk in her first 3-Day that year, in part because she needed a new challenge and also because her Aunt Joey passed away from the disease. She was hooked. The 2013 Seattle walk was her 12th, and she’s trying crew for the first time at the San Diego 3-Day in November (“I wanted a new experience and my back and feet will be happy about that.”).
The pink ribbon butterfly was done in 2007 by Josh at House of Tattoo in Tacoma, Washington. She decided to add the flowers two years later, this time working with Slave to the Needle in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. I love the bright colors and subtle blue shading in the background!
It’s required for crew members, but Blanche has decided to raise money for the San Diego walk anyway. I look forward to seeing her smiling face in at the 3-Day in November!
October 13th, 2013
Interested in helping fight cancer?
Organizations focused on programs and services related to cancer are always happy to receive your financial donations, and they can’t survive without volunteers who give precious time. But there’s another way you can help combat cancer, one that typically takes little time and won’t cost you a penny.
Research studies investigate ways to prevent or diagnose cancer
Breast and ovarian cancer both run in my family. With breast cancer, monthly self exams and an annual mammogram should help catch the disease early if it were to develop. Ovarian cancer is another story: It rarely presents symptoms until later stages, resulting in fewer treatment options and higher mortality rates.
For the past six years I have been a participant in the Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Screening Program (OCEDP), a collaboration between the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research, Swedish Medical Center and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
The study is investigating whether blood tests measuring the CA-125 protein and annual ultrasounds help detect ovarian cancer early in women with increased risk. A concurrent study, the Novel Markers trial, aims to find additional blood markers that might complement the CA-125 test.
By taking part in these studies, I am screened for ovarian cancer not once, but twice a year. And my participation will help researchers find ways to detect this form of cancer early. In fact, a recent post on the Fred Hutch blog highlights promising results from ovarian cancer screening trials!
Research study? Clinical trial? What’s the difference?
A research study is also known as a prevention trial. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) describes a cancer prevention trial as a study of a large group of people with the intent of finding better ways to prevent people from getting cancer, or lowering the chances that people will get it.
A treatment or clinical trial finds better ways to treat people who have already been diagnosed with cancer. Clinical trials are treatment-related trials that involve people, and are the final step in a long process that begins with laboratory research. Most cancer treatments used today are the result of past clinical trials.
Interested in becoming part of a study? The Puget Sound region is home to several research centers in need of volunteers:
- Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
- University of Washington Medical Center
- Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research
- Pacific Ovarian Cancer Research Consortium
- Other Clinical Studies via US National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Please feel free to share any other studies looking for participants.
October 12th, 2013
I met Susan and her friend Joan on the first day of the 2013 Seattle 3-Day, as I was riding alongside some walkers nearing the 20-mile mark. I thought I could see the outline of a pink ribbon tattoo between Susan’s shoulder blades, but there wasn’t one. She did, however, have a pink ribbon on her side, just below her rib cage.
As we chatted, they told me they were walking in memory of their friend Tana, who left behind a husband and young children. My heart broke a little – for them, and for Tana’s family.
Susan has a classic pink ribbon, about 2.5 inches tall. I’m usually not a fan of background shading, but I think it works really well with this ribbon, highlighting some of the texture and dimension in the pink.
October 9th, 2013
Patti and I met on this year’s Seattle 3-Day Route Safety crew as fellow bicyclists. It was her first year on crew, but her second 3-Day… she walked in Seattle last year, just nine months after her breast cancer diagnosis.
In the months following her diagnosis, Patti learned she carries the BRCA1 gene mutation, had surgery to remove the cancer on January 11, followed by a hysterectomy in February. A key comfort to her during this time was her horse, Monte. When she decided to get a tattoo signifying her experience, it seemed right to incorporate this important element of her life.
Patti had both of her tattoos done by Jake at Snohomish Tattoo & Piercing in Snohomish, Washington and is planning on adding a ribbon for each 3-Day she takes part in. You can tell they were still pretty new when I took the pictures, but I think they’ll heal beautifully.
Patti, it was great to get to know you on the route this year. I look forward to seeing you at the 2014 Seattle 3-Day!