PORTSMOUTH – Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day is Oct. 13, and because of the efforts of one determined organization, the Memorial Bridge will light that night in the three colors representing the disease.
Moore Fight Moore Strong is “shining new light” on Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness in memory of Jessica Noonan-Moore, who died this year from the disease.
Laura Inahara, one of the founders of Moore Fight Moore Strong (MFMS), said the group is referring to this bridge lighting as: “Light the Bridge for MBC.” The bridge will be illuminated 30 minutes after sunset and remain lit until 30 minutes before sunrise. Supporters of Moore Fight Moore Strong will gather at 6:15 p.m., at Prescott Park, to view the bridge and encourage all affected by breast cancer to come and light a luminary bag.
“The more people that join our MFMS army to help us raise awareness for MBC the better,” said Inahara. “Often in a month filled with pink celebrations the MBC community feels forgotten. MFMS would like the MBC community to know they are top of mind for us. Our mission is to continue Jessica’s legacy to raise awareness for Metastatic Breast Cancer.”
Metastatic breast cancer is often referred to as Stage IV cancer, representing the most advanced stage. It has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. According to www.cancer.net, the five-year survival rate for women is 26 percent, and for men, 20 percent.
The bridge will be lit in pink, green and teal. The pink ribbon is well-known for representing the fight against breast cancer, but many stage IV breast cancer patients feel that pink does not encapsulate their experience. Metastatic Breast Cancer may start in the breast, but its spread to vital organs often makes the disease fatal.
To highlight the uniqueness of the disease and show its commonality with other stage 4 cancers, METAvivor designed a base ribbon of green and teal to represent metastasis. Green represents the triumph of spring over winter, life over death, and symbolizes renewal, hope and immortality while teal symbolized healing and spirituality. The thin pink ribbon overlay signifies the metastatic cancer originated in the breast (metavivor.org).
Inahara said MFMs first reached out to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office for assistance on the process of getting Portsmouth officials to light the Memorial Bridge.
“I sent an email to all the city councilors and the city manager,” said Inahara. “I talked to the acting City Manager Nancy Colbert-Puff while the other city manager is away on leave. She is who advised they were putting a policy in place.”
The policy was made, and the request of MFMS will be the first to use it on Friday.
Inahara said metastatic breast cancer does not receive the awareness, and the funding as does breast cancer. She said MFMS supporters know that awareness is key to the disease getting the attention and funding it deserves, which is only about 2 percent of the funding allocated to all breast cancers.
How MFMS began:
“Moore Fight Moore Strong” were words I heard Jess’ husband, Matt, say to Jess regularly to help them both stay positive while they went through the initial shock of her diagnosis,” said Inahara. “Her husband, Matt, is my cousin and Jess and I were best friends. I wrote about how MFMS was formed here on a guest blog she asked me to do. Jess named me the director of MFMS.
The blog post can be found at https://fightercomingthrough.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/mbc-journey-from-a-different-perspective/.
“Why we are now continuing MFMS” said Inahara, “I think that’s a simple answer. Jess’ favorite quote was ‘quitting is not an option.’ That is how she lived her life, and that’s exactly how we feel. You don’t lose a loved one to MBC and just simply stop advocating. We know that 113 other families will lose their loved one to MBC today. This must stop. Jess’ mission was to raise awareness for Metastatic Breast Cancer and find a cure, or at the very least make it a lifelong manageable illness. That continues to be our mission today to carry on her legacy. Our hearts are broken with the loss of Jess but our voices will never be silenced.”
Inahara said there is a misconception there is a cure for breast cancer.
“We want to educate everyone and anyone that will listen that there is not,” said Inahara. “This bridge lighting is dedicated to all lives lost to breast cancer, those currently battling and all their loved ones. That is what Jessica would want.”
In Jess Moore’s words taken from her blog: “I encourage others to advocate, advocate, advocate! If you are living with MBC be your own voice, seek out all your options; find an oncologist you love, after all they are your lifeline. Research and ask questions. Communication is key, do not be afraid to ask your doctor a million questions, or send them a study you read about, we are our own advocates. Raise awareness and educate others as much as possible, the more we talk about it the more people understand. MBC needs more attention and we can all bring attention to it.”
About Moore Fight Moore Strong
In 2013, Moore Fight Moore Strong (MFMS) was formed by family and friends who joined forces with a mission to support Jessica Moore, who in April 2013, at age 32 was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC). Since inception, Moore Fight Moore Strong (MFMS) has grown larger than we could have ever imagined. Our Army now includes family, friends and small businesses from several local communities. We all united together to support Jess’ mission to raise awareness to Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC). In May of this year, Jessica passed away after a courageous four-year battle.
To donate to Stage IV MBC researc, visit:
For information on Moore Fight Moore Strong, go to: www.MooreFightooreStrong.com, or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MooreFightMooreStrong.
13 facts about metastatic breast cancer:
According to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (www.mbcn.org), the 13 facts people may not know about metastatic breast cancer are:
1. No one dies from breast cancer that remains in the breast. Metastasis occurs when cancerous cells travel to a vital organ and that is what threatens life.
2. Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body, typically the bones, liver, lungs and brain.
3. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. (also called Stage IV breast cancer) Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the United States.
4. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is lifelong and focuses on control of the disease and quality of life.
5. About 6 percent of people are Stage IV from their initial diagnosis.
6. Early detection does not guarantee a cure. Metastatic breast cancer can occur five, 10 or 15 years after a person’s original diagnosis and successful treatment checkups and annual mammograms.
7. 20 percent to 30 percent of people initially diagnosed with early stage disease will develop metastatic breast cancer.
8. Young people, as well as men, can be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
9. Like early stage breast cancer, there are different types of metastatic breast cancer.
10. Treatment choices are guided by breast cancer type, location and extent of metastasis in the body, previous treatments and other factors.
11. Metastatic breast cancer is not an automatic death sentence. Although most people will ultimately die of their disease, some will live for many years.
12. There are no definitive prognostic statistics for metastatic breast cancer. Every patient and their disease is unique.
13. To learn more about National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Oct. 13 and to access resources specifically for people living with metastatic breast cancer and their caregivers, visit www.mbcn.org.