October, the season when warm colors fill our view at every turn with reds, oranges and yellows - as the leaves change colors and pumpkin season begins; but for countless people, the color that comes with October is pink.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, the impact ripples through family, friends and coworkers. October is more than just about wearing pink - it's about increasing awareness of breast cancer.
In November 2016, Shanie Green was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Knowing cancer ran through her family, Green tried to get the genetic testing done to see if she carried the gene, but was denied. By the time of her diagnosis, her mother had fought ovarian cancer, one of her sisters had passed from breast cancer, her father had lost his battle with cancer in 2012 and her other sister had been diagnosed with lung cancer. As Green was undergoing rigorous cancer treatment, the disease would strike once again, as she lost her sister, and closest confidant, to lung cancer.
Following endless complications from chemotherapy and radiation, including severe port-site infections and collapsed veins, Green underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in April 2019. This year, Green celebrated three years cancer free.
At the time of her diagnosis, Green worked in REC's Debt Recovery department. She was unable to work during her treatment, but was welcomed back to the Cooperative with open arms when she was able to return. "They really stepped up and showed they care," Green said. "Coworkers sent care packages and cards, my supervisor checked in with me at least once a week and they let me know they were there for me and my family."
Now as the External Affairs Administrative Assistant, Green has been a voice for cancer awareness. In October 2019, she helped coordinate a Cooperative-wide pink out. This year, she took part in Sheyla Guerra's Stronger Together campaign.
"The campaign's goal is to make a difference and to shed light on breast cancer," Green said. "All the women got to participate in a photoshoot and the photos were displayed at the event where we were able to connect, share stories and encourage one another."
The event was held at Mattaponi Winery and REC was a sponsor, providing Stronger Together masks to attendees. "To have REC as a sponsor meant the world to me, it shows that my company is in this with me," Green explained.
As Green continues to live life, spend time with her family and work at REC, she'd an advocate of regular screenings and encourages people to pay attention to their body.
"I look at this as a fight," Green said. "Not just my fight, but all of us no matter the form of cancer."