Every year, the month of October grabs the attention of all Major League Soccer fans. Teams are in the final push to not only make the MLS Cup Playoffs, but are also battling for position in the standings. As fans of the game, we stress over every minute, every call, every result as it plays such an important role in our lives. That said, in the grand scheme of things, we can't lose sight of the bigger significance of October.
October is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and has been for 26 years now. I have been cognizant of its importance over the years, certainly more so as I get older. I am proud to have played a role, when possible, in raising awareness – helping bring the Race for the Cure to Pepsi Center, or working with my friend Amy Venturi to bring the annual Step Up 4 Cancer event to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. But to be honest, I have been on the periphery…until this year.
In June, my wife Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer. What was something that I was previously simply aware of, I was now terrified of. Our summer was completely different than we had planned for. Trying to explain to our young daughters what was going on was difficult, but kids are so resilient that we gained a lot of strength from them.
As we hit October, I am extremely grateful and relieved that my wife is doing great. As she said, what could be better than when your doctor comes into post-op and says, “Heather, you are cancer free!”
We are a private family, but Heather was very quick to offer to share our story. It is a story that started with what we thought was the worst possible news, but then every step after that could not have gone better. Each test came back negative, and not just for Heather – the negative test on the relevant gene mutation was overwhelmingly good news for a family with two daughters and two nieces.
The predominant reason Heather wanted me to write this piece is to provide a voice, as loud as possible, for annual exams and early detection. We are blessed to have caught Heather’s cancer so early. It could have been a completely different situation if not for a diligent annual exam.
We are also blessed to have a support system of family, friends, employers, co-workers, and neighbors that made this time manageable and left us very humbled.
Finally, I am the luckiest of all to have my wife happy, healthy, and enthusiastic about the future. She is the strongest person I know and spent most days worrying about how I was doing.
The lasting message we want to leave with you is to get tested earlier and more often than you previously thought was necessary, and to encourage your friends and family members to get tested as well.
Also, don’t take anything for granted. We all have hurdles to overcome in our personal and professional lives, but we are frankly pretty fortunate to do it in a community of people with a great spirit of positivity and collaboration.
I look forward to next and every October in Colorado, only now with a whole lot more perspective. And as you can imagine, as October turns to November this year, I can already envision a different and very warm feeling around the Thanksgiving table. And we wish all of that and more for each of you.
Throughout the month of October, Kroenke Sports Charities is collecting funds to donate to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure foundation. To learn more or inquire about donating, please contact Marisa Colaiano at 303-727-3517 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.