"If there is any message I could pass on it would be to take today's opportunities and live your dreams. I know sometimes it's hard not to be stressed out by life and bogged with minor problems. Try to remember what matters most to your heart and be thankful for what you do have."
Let’s Honor Her Life and the Courage of All Like Her
The tears still involuntarily flow at the thought of Michelle’s passing; but from the "pool of tears" has come a mission of service to make it better for others touched by this unrelenting disease. Family, friends, and the community have come together and created a mission to serve our community. Her parents say that more than once they have wished the treatment would have started sooner. But bitter disappointment must be given up and replaced with positive action. Michelle needed a resource center where she could go for help in coping with her challenges. Her parents, family and friends have started one in her memory so others will have an opportunity to get the help they need —it is called Michelle’s Place.
Michelle felt she would have liked a place she could receive emotional comfort, a listening ear, and an opportunity to talk with someone who is surviving breast cancer and learning to cope with the disease. This place should also provide the latest information regarding treatment options, coping strategies, up-to-date research and clinical developments so the person and their family can help in planning and be informed when making treatment decisions.
Michelle shared a love of life and persevered to the end with a valiant determination to beat the challenge of breast cancer and always shared her knowledge and experience of battling cancer in a positive, uplifting way. Although her journey on earth was cut short at the age of 26, her vision of helping others with breast cancer has been the inspiration to open Michelle’s Place to assist those walking a similar path.
Especially important at Michelle’s Place is the provision of education to those women not yet touched by the disease. They must know that if a lesion is mammographically detected during the early development stage, chance of survival and/or cure rate is raised to a dramatic 95% or more. This is a major improvement over today’s variable survival rates among different ethnic groups, ranging from 55% to 79% — because, like Michelle, many of them are discovering breast cancer too late. It is clear that a very high priority for Michelle’s Place is to help educate everyone in our community, from our young women to our seniors.