In honor of National Mammography Day, we are privileged to have our Founder and CEO, Janelle Hail, share her thoughts about the importance of mammograms, how much things have changed during the years since her diagnosis, and how she lives each day with joy:
There was no internet. No one talked about breast cancer. The disease was
misunderstood because of poor communication to the general public. You could get fired from your job so the company would not have to pay extra on insurance. Rejection from those close to you was a real possibility since there was a lack of understanding of how it was transmitted. That was what it was like 36 years ago when I was told I had breast cancer.
I knew women had to get out of the dark ages into the light of knowledge. I
founded NBCF 25 years ago to give every woman an opportunity to have access to mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. No woman should face breast cancer alone, so NBCF steps in to offer help for free mammograms for those who cannot afford them by our working with a network of hospitals across the United States.
There is a road from the darkest hour of a woman’s life into a place for a hope for her future. NBCF is the lighthouse on the hill, a beacon of hope shining a bright light on the pathway to find the help needed and to give support along the way.
Shortly after arriving home from the hospital from having a mastectomy, my life quickly resumed—taking care of my three sons and husband. An ordinary day became extraordinary as I looked out my kitchen window and saw a small tree with a single red leaf blowing in the wind. All of the other leaves had fallen from the autumn wind. This leaf was brilliant and filled with life. It seemed to be happy and dancing in the wind as it hung on for dear life. I said, “That’s how I want to be. Brilliant to the end.”
I have embraced life with joy, just as that red leaf did. My life today is
fulfilled because it no longer is about me, but about every woman out there who needs to hear a message of encouragement. Mammograms save lives! I am full of life and energy today because of early detection.
While technology has changed dramatically in the years since Janelle’s diagnosis, mammograms remain our best tool for detecting breast
cancer. If you’re over 40, or have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about whether you’re due for a mammogram. For more guidance on how to be proactive with your breast health, download
our free eBook, What Every Woman Needs to Know, today.