Theresa Tee Palomares is a bundle of energy, a woman on a mission to raise awareness of metastatic breast cancer. She looked at her own community of Houston and noticed there was a problem. Most people do not know about metastatic breast cancer (also called Stage IV) or about October 13 being designated as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. She immediately took action, found the mayor’s address on the City of Houston website and sent her this letter:
Dear Mayor Annise Parker:
In supporting the month of September with the Teal colors for Ovarian Cancer Awareness and you will probably follow suit with Pink in
October for Breast Cancer Awareness, were you aware that there is one day which is given for Stage IV Breast Cancer women and men-yes, only one day!
Can you please change the lights on that day for us? Maybe Pink and Black or just Black because society has swept us under the rug-you see, less than 3% of Komen funds are given for Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, the rest is earmarked for awareness, prevention and “PINK” advocacy, but what about us? Please follow this link http://mbcn.org/developing-awareness/category/house-resolution-senate-resolution/#senate to the MBCN.org website. This is the Senate Resolution enacted in 2009, designating October 13, as National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day!
Please take the time to support this as 40,000 women and men are dying each year with no cure in sight-no cure at least for the Stage 4 community.
Thank you for your support.
The mayor’s team was very responsive and things moved quickly and smoothly, with only a few small glitches. The City of Houston would only consider a request from a non-profit group and not an individual. They wanted to know what colors to use. Theresa wasn’t sure that turning off the lights completely would get enough attention, so she worked with our sister organization, Metavivor, and decided to light up Houston with the Metavivor colors of teal, green and pink. October 13 was not available, but the 14th and 15th were open. (Apparently there are many, many organizations that request lighting to symbolize their causes.)
Theresa was not deterred and is now planning on being at City Hall on October 13, 14 and 15, camcorder in hand, discussing metastatic disease with passers-by and distributing MBCN pamphlets and copies of the 2009 Senate Resolution for October 13. “I’ll just tell everyone we’re so pushed into the shadows that we couldn’t even get recognition on our one day – October 13,” she quipped.
Theresa invites all Houston area metastatic patients and supporters to come out and join her at City Hall each evening the weekend of October 13-14-15. You can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
When asked what she would advise others who want to follow her lead, Theresa said to start in your own community or state.
“If Houston— a large metropolis of over 2 million citywide, 4 million county wide with one of the largest medical centers in the United States —was not aware of October 13th, how many more cities and towns are not aware? ONE PERSON can make a difference, so please be that one person to light the fire.”
Email your mayor, suggest changing the lighting if they use it or suggest passing a resolution to honor October 13 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. If the community has a program on breast cancer, ask to participate in it, and use your voice to educate people about metastatic disease. Email us at email@example.com and we can answer your questions and supply pamphlets, t shirts and information. For other suggestions see our MBCA advocacy kit.