In the grand scheme of things, wine and breast cancer couldn’t be more unalike. One is something that is meant to be savored and the other is, well, cancer, the “C-word.” While they lay on opposite ends of life’s spectrum, they’ve recently been pulled together in the form of a calendar. Developed by a wine club called SWILL (Several Wine Imbibers Liking Libations), this calendar benefits Living Beyond Breast Cancer, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping women affected to live their lives to the fullest.
Unfortunately, breast cancer has touched the lives of many of us. We can swear at it, yell at it, and tell it to go away, but it’s a mulish malignancy: statistically, one in eight women will have it in their lifetime. Though its prevalence is disheartening, the end of the proverbial tunnel, once blocked by rocks and boulders, is no longer dark: the strides made in medicine have given us light and given us hope. Today, the survival rate for breast cancer is more than 90 percent when accompanied by early detection.
With this early detection being key, women must be vigilant of symptoms. These include a lump in the breast (usually painless), bloody or clear nipple discharge, indentation of the nipple, change in breast size, and a change in the skin covering the breast (flattening, indenting, or pitting). Though these symptoms can be discovered by a self-breast exam, clinical exams and mammograms are also essential. This is particularly true for those at risk.
The risk factors for breast cancer are numerous, making its prevalence understandable. Plainly put, most women fall into at least a few risk factor categories. Among these are race (Caucasians are at a higher risk), age (risk increases with years), excessive use of alcohol, smoking, genetic predisposition (between five and ten percent of breast cancer is inherited), radiation exposure, excess weight, early onset of menstruation (particularly before age 12), menopause after age 55, never becoming pregnant or first pregnancy after age 30, taking hormone therapy or birth control pills, and having a family history of breast cancer.
As numerous the risk factors, the human race isn’t the only thing in danger: thanks to all of those dedicated to fighting it, breast cancer is at risk itself. The support against it, monumental; the money to research it, enormous; the fight to stop it, encompassing . In fact, cancer’s one decent quality is its keen ability to unite people. No matter the differences that lie between us, all human beings agree on one thing: cancer freaking sucks.
And so, until it is cured, the war wages on.
Some people have the means to offer up tons of ammunition for this battle. They are doctors, they are scientists, they are philanthropists. Others fight with smaller arsenals. But, when it comes to fighting cancer, no deed is small, no deed is unneeded.
Whatever kind of difference one hopes to make, tiny steps amount to larger ones. The Women of SWILL calendar is the perfect way to start or continue steps in the right direction. Purchasing a calendar helps take cancer out of the drivers seat: with profits going to Living Beyond Breast Cancer, it helps pull those diagnosed with and affected by breast cancer back onto the bandwagon of life.
Featuring twelve women draped in wraps, and photographed in the most scenic areas of Western New York, this 2008 calendar, with support from the Kinley Corporation, will be available prior to or on October 10th at [http://www.swillparty.com] for 19.99. Four-colored, spiral bound, and filled with beautiful women for a beautiful mission, its conception was derived in 2006 during a group outing for annual mammograms. When the group realized so many had known those or been those influenced by this disease, they put the Women of SWILL calendar on their schedule. portland or wine tours