Yes, even though it’s been two years, I think of my beautiful friend every day. When someone with red hair passes by. When a dog who looks like Shafer, her dog, stops by our house. When a cardinal lands near our backyard pond. I could go on and on about Laura. But there are certain days, certain months, that she is with me from start to finish. Breast cancer awareness month marks the beginning of our “Laura rituals”– pink extensions in our hair, turning the firm website pink, white roses on the 24th for her birthday.
But this October 1st, was extra special. Loyola School of Law, which Laura loved, selected Laura Caldwell as the proud recipient of the Francis Rooney/St. Thomas More Award given in recognition of her continuous and outstanding loyalty and dedication service to the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. With her sister, Christi, her cousin Kelly and her Uncle Mike, also known as “Judge Caldwell” to us regular folks, we saw Laura’s face light up the screen with picture after picture. The thing that struck me most, through my tears, is how alive she was.
Breast Cancer is that way – it robs us of beautiful women in the world, often in the prime of their lives, without even a warning. But we are offered one thing – clues. Whether it be a spot on an annual mammogram, an abnormality felt upon self-examination or pain in a certain area during breast cancer- we see little clues that provide us an early warning. Every time we choose to ignore a symptom, not follow-up with a doctor or skip a screening test, cancer triumphs just a little over us and that means breast cancer included. The importance of staying current on our breast examinations and mammograms is crucial. Every time you investigate a sign or a symptom, you make the decision to stand up for your health for yourself and for those that love you.
In testament to Laura and her battle, I continue to advocate today for the women and men who still fight cancer. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to be reminded that our health can never be put on hold. This year, plan your screening or plan for someone else. Check on the newly diagnosed or the survivor struggling just to get up and show up every day. Please, think of Laura, and those in your lives that need you. Most importantly, think of YOU.
Elizabeth A. Kaveny