Hi, my name is Ayesha and I am 22 years old. I graduated from McMaster University and moved to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in November 2013.
I have always been looking for an opportunity to be involved in the community, but due to full-time studies, commuting, a part-time job, and time for family/friends I had to put off being committed to an organization. However, I did occasionally participate in single day events at the University, such as “Pink Hijab Day” (being a breast cancer awareness advocate), baked goods for bake sales where proceeds went to natural disaster victims, as well as summer events, such as the “Youth Leadership Development Program”, where I organized bake sales and collected funds for women’s shelters in Mississauga.
All of my past experiences led me to join the Youth Advisory Council. In January 2014, I began searching for volunteering opportunities in my community and stumbled across the Youth Advisory Council for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. I decided to join YAC because I felt it was an excellent way to connect and inform other individuals in my age group and younger about breast cancer. The decisions we make in terms of our diet and lifestyle have a tremendous effect on our bodies and well-being, and I strongly believe that with a better educated younger audience, together we can raise awareness about the consequences of our actions and decisions in our early years, which may essentially prevent breast cancer and enable women and men alike to be able to detect early warning signs. Joining the YAC allows me to exercise my beliefs and work with other youths who align with my common goals.
A couple years ago, a distant relative of mine who also happens to be a doctor was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I first found out, I was initially shocked, because for me it was hard to fathom that a doctor had breast cancer. Watching her journey to overcome breast cancer was really difficult to watch, but very inspirational at the same time. Throughout her chemotherapy treatment, my aunt never gave up. She fought hard, even though she was well aware that she may not make it. We watched her get weak, lose weight, and hair, but she still remained strong and had a positive outlook on life. She was a true warrior, who overcame cancer and is back to her healthy self.
The youth of today and tomorrow can play a huge role in creating a future without breast cancer. Prevention begins with awareness, and for that the spread of knowledge is imperative. By joining the Youth Advisory Council, we can all come together to share what we know about breast cancer, as well as stories about individuals afflicted by the disease. From here on, we can then spread it to other individuals who are not informed about the matter. Breast cancer does not discriminate amongst races, religions, sex, or age. It affects us all.
Ayesha is a member of Youth Advisory Council Saskatoon and a guest blogger on Unhooked.