University President Joanne Glasser stepped up to a glass podi- um sporting a pink jacket in lieu of her usual red attire in support of breast cancer awareness Oct. 9 in Neumiller Hall.
Glasser spoke of her personal experience with breast cancer as a two-time survivor and the impor- tance of screening and detection.
“You don’t normally say you’re lucky when you get breast cancer, but I was fortunate and benefitted from early detection,” Glasser said.
Almost every hand in the audience shot up when she asked if anyone knew some- one who had breast cancer.
“It’s a battle that none of us choose to undertake,” Glasser said. “I real- ly never dreamed it would happen to me. I had no symptoms or history, I ate right and I was active.”
Despite the first diagnosis in 2008 and 35 radiation treatments, Glasser pushed on to work and never missed a day. “Work for me is good therapy. Doing what you love is therapy,” she said. “Finding your passion is the best medicine in life.”
Glasser expressed appreciation for the many students that stopped by her office to ask how she was doing and the importance of speaking out.
“Reach out. We need to hear from other people,” she said. “You don’t need to suffer alone.”
Two years later, Glasser was diagnosed yet again, but vowed to remain positive with a lot to live for, with a son and daugh- ter to motivate her recovery.
“I chose to look at myself as a survivor,” she said. “No more ‘why me?’ but instead, ‘why not me?’’
Thinking positively is the only way to beat the dreaded disease, she said.
More than 200,000 Americans will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year, however the good news is that breast cancer
survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors in this country.
“My greatest hope is a world in which this disease never has a place,” Glasser said. “It may not be in my lifetime, but hopefully yours.”
Students in the audience said they were touched by her experi- ence.
“I thought it was moving and emotional,” said sophomore learn- ing behavior specialist major Taylor Boyne. “I didn’t know she had gone through this, and it was nice to hear her story.”
The speech also allowed for audience members to make per- sonal connections.
“I really liked it. It was powerful,” said freshman nursing major Catie Grey. “My grandma had breast cancer, and I could relate to the fact that it’s important to reach out to one another.”