October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when local efforts to fight and raise awareness of the disease help spur survivors to even greater action.
Sue Schilling and Ron Coleman are among the inspiring survivors committed to promoting activism in the community.
Schilling’s breast cancer was discovered in 1995 at a doctor’s appointment. It was a shock to her – she had no family history of the disease – but she found encouragement from healthy survivors close to her.
Though Coleman’s mother and sister both battled breast cancer, he thought little of the disease – men account for less than 1 percent of breast cancer diagnoses, according to the Journal of Clinical Oncology – before being diagnosed at age 56.
Schilling and Coleman both chose to adopt positive attitudes when faced with the worries and challenges cancer brings.
“The thing that helped me the most was the word perspective. It got my head on straight after the initial shock of being diagnosed,” Schilling says. “I was going to get treatment and just go on with my life.”
Coleman embraced a similar confidence.
“I became a survivor at the time of the diagnosis,” Coleman says. “From that time on, I wasn’t going to let cancer stop me from living my life. And part of my goal and objective was to help people help themselves through cancer.”
In addition to offering encouragement and advice to various groups, Shilling and Coleman participate in their own breast cancer awareness projects.
Coleman and his son, Kurt – a former Buckeye football player and current Philadelphia Eagles safety – work together to raise money by creating websites and participating in breast cancer walks in Columbus and Philadelphia during October. In Ron’s first walk in 2010, he had 20 members on his team and raised $2,500. In 2011, his team grew to 69 members and raised $10,000. The goal for this year is to surpass the $10,000 mark.
Coleman recently served as honorary chairman for the 2012 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Columbus.
As the owner of accessories store Accent on Image and the Pandora Jewelry store at Polaris Fashion Place, Schilling chooses to incorporate her businesses into her dedication to fundraising.
In October, she collaborates with Vera Bradley and Brighton by featuring items whose proceeds go in part to breast cancer research. Other items’ proceeds are directed to Susan G. Komen Columbus and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.
Olivia Ohlin is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org