Tamsen Fadal's Story on Breast Cancer Awareness
Name & Age: Tamsen Fadal, 46
How have you been affected by breast cancer?
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 14 years old. She underwent a double mastectomy, radiation several times, numerous treatments of chemo and fought the disease for 6 years. She died in 1990 and will forever be my greatest inspiration.
Her fight and her death affected our family profoundly. To this day, I am a strong advocate for early detection, breast cancer awareness and a lifestyle to try and be as preventative as possible.
Where did you get your strength and resilience from?
I think my strength and resilience comes from my parents. I watched my mother fight to live so that she could see me and my brother become adults. It was her greatest dream and sadly that never happened. But, I do believe she watches over all of us each day and guides us in our path.
After my mother died, I watched my father become both parents. He is my best friend, my mentor and a man I admire like no other person in the world. Right after my mother died, he lost his job. So while he was grieving his wife, he was fighting to support our family and take care of my brother and I as well. He is truly my hero.
What has been most helpful to you in the support you have received?
Every single time I meet a survivor, I hug them. It is the greatest support I can get for myself.
It gives me hope that we will find a cure. It encourages me to keep fighting to make sure the resources are in place so that women who cannot afford to get screening have the ability to do so above all.
What are some ways you would advise young women to help lower their risk for breast cancer?
I am a big believer in a healthy lifestyle. I do yoga several times a week. I don’t eat meat. I make sure that I have balance in my life. I would advise young women to look up and realize that if they don’t take care of themselves first they cannot take care of anyone else. A proactive, healthy lifestyle is the best medicine to me.
What is your message to other women about the importance of screening? Especially younger working women?
I don’t think my mother would have lived as long if she had not been screened early. In fact, she was diagnosed at 44 years old. I can’t emphasize how important early screening is. If you are not doing it for yourself, do it for the people who love you.