Heike’s Story and Inspiration Behind Check Your Boobies
In December 2003, five days after turning thirty-four, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was young and active, had three children under two and no family history of breast cancer. I wasn’t in any of the traditional “high-risk” categories and discovered my lump while nursing my daughter. Days after being diagnosed, I underwent a lumpectomy, removing the tumor along with lymph nodes followed by chemotherapy and a course of radiation. I was on Tamoxifen, a preventive drug given to women for five years after treatment. I’m happy to say I have been cancer-free for seven years.
My experience inspired me to create Check Your Boobies, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating other women about breast health, breast cancer prevention and early detection in a frank, fun and fear-free manner. The organization’s philosophy is evident in its name and was inspired by my daughter, Maia, who was two years old when she learned about her mommy’s illness.
Check Your Boobies’ mission is to educate women about breast health at Check Your Boobies’ parties. So far over 15,000 women have been educated. Our hope is that if someone does find a cancerous lump that they will have found it as early as possible.
Check Your Boobies is about more than discovering or avoiding a cancer diagnosis. It’s about empowering ourselves to be proactive about our own health. It’s about knowing your boobies; knowing that if you do find something, you know what to do and if found early, you have many options. I want women everywhere to be checking their boobies and ensuring for themselves the gift of health.