Four Little Letters

I love lists and the sense of accomplishment I feel when I check off completed tasks. One sunny day last July my list included a routine mammogram. I was expecting a quick appointment as I had no symptoms or concerns. Four hours and several tests later I headed home in shock. The radiologist was quite sure I had DCIS1, an early stage breast cancer… and a week later the biopsy confirmed it. My journey of medical appointments and treatment began.

This stressful experience was easier because of the many outstanding people who are part of my life, including my “work” family. United Way supports vulnerable citizens in our community and this compassion also extends within, to the employees of United Way. I am so thankful for the warm hugs, kind words and positive encouragement from Anne Smith, President & CEO, my colleagues in Community Engagement and the rest of the United Way staff. I am especially grateful for the friendship and understanding of Nancy Critchley, Director, Communications.

We all face challenges in life. The “visibly” vulnerable citizens in our community need our support. Look around you. Do you know individuals struggling with personal issues who you could help? We strengthen our community when we support one another!

Today, I am cancer free and grateful for early detection and prompt treatment. I am so proud to work for United Way and to have support in a community and workplace that helps families and individuals – just like me.

Nancy Burns, Communications Coordinator, United Way of the Alberta Capital Region

[1] Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. Ductal means that the cancer starts inside the milk ducts, carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues (including breast tissue) that cover or line the internal organs, and in situ means "in its original place." DCIS is called "non-invasive" because it hasn’t spread beyond the milk duct into any normal surrounding breast tissue. DCIS isn’t life-threatening, but having DCIS can increase the risk of developing an invasive breast cancer later on.