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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston glowing pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October marks the beginning of National Breast Cancer Month, and in a sense, another surge of awareness and support for all types of cancer. In honor of this month, I determined that the topic of cancer is worth a blog post.

What they say is true: we have all been touched by cancer. Whether it be someone we personally know, a friend of a friend, or ourselves, cancer has affected us all.

I used to wonder if I was cursed, having to see my loved ones battle and cope with cancer. I have seen cancer in many different ways, in many different people, and at many different stages in my life.

As a child, it was hard for me to know what it was. I also hadn’t been around too long to make any deep connections with the people I interacted with. I just didn’t understand.

As a teenager it was worse. For the sake of this post, when I say teenager I mean ages 13-17. Being a teenager in the first place is a difficult feat. Emotions and angst run rampant. I couldn’t cope at all. I was struggling with my self esteem and sense of self, as all teens do, and worrying about someone else almost got to be too much. For me, it was two consecutive years of cancer in the two closest people to me. Not until I passed the age of 17 did I realize the emotional toll it took on me. Not until then did I fully accept what had happened. Luckily, those two troopers won their battles and are healthier and sprier than ever.

Now, at 19, in a horrible way, I have become desensitized to it. Though I am always horrified when I hear of another case, I have accepted that cancer affects us frequently. There is sometimes nothing to do but offer support in the best way possible. If that means remaining positive and smiling often, so be it.

Terrible things happen in our lives and happen everyday. What’s important is to recognize the even more abundant beauty and happiness that we are privileged to experience. We are lucky to be here. I am certainly lucky to be able to write this post for you today.

So this month, let us appreciate life and all its opportunities. More importantly, let us celebrate the survivors and bring positivity to the fighters.

-Zoe

To learn more about Breast Cancer/donate: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

To learn more about cancer/donate: http://www.cancer.org/

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