GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) Jim Conner of West Michigan is the organizer of a group called the Pink Tie Guys, an organization that raises money for breast cancer and offers support to men whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Jim shares his wife’s journey of breast cancer discovery and treatment and how it’s impacted their lives forever in this moving public service announcement.
Jim’s wife, Jennifer, has made it her life’s work to make an impact when it comes to breast cancer. Not only did she overcome her breast cancer diagnosis, she leads Susan G. Komen in West Michigan, sharing her story with women from across the area. Jim is proud to be married to such a postive and hardworking woman, and continues to support Jennifer by telling her story.
In his words….
I wasn’t married to Jenn when she found out she had cancer. She tells me it happened like this… she had an abnormal feeling about herself and went to have it checked because she has a family history of breast cancer. You’re home by yourself and you get the call, (she tell’s me it’s worse to get a call and not just the simple post card in the mail) and they said, “you have cancer….”. Hearing it now, it rattles you…
The first thing she did was call a friend and then she rallied those troops. She tells me that she cried about it for one day and then continued to figure out how to beat it. That’s her way of dealing with those stressful things.
She eventually made the decision to have surgery. She had a double mastectomy and ultimately moved on with her life. But breast cancer continues to be part of her journey. She actually started working with Susan G. Komen two and half years ago. She’s very active in the community with breast cancer and after losing her mom when she was young and being diagnosed herself, she got to a point where she decided she needed to do more.
When we met I asked her why she was so involved with breast cancer advocacy? Did she know someone with breast cancer? Her answer was, “me”. Then she shared her story and you could just tell she was going to do something positive.
When we met I asked her why she was so involved with breast cancer advocacy? Did she know someone with breast cancer? Her answer was, “me”.
It wasn’t long before I got involved. I’m one of those guys that can never say no. We did a bunch of 5k’s and she came to me with the Pink Tie Guys ball. I said what if we made it different…a men’s only event. We address the issue and how does this affect men. It’s different than Komen events where it’s all women.
Breast cancer affects men too… the chance of losing your loved one is real. Guys need to talk about it and we talk about it differently. It’s a very personal matter to talk about. The message for men is to encourage the women in your life to get the checkups. That’s what probably saved Jenns life, she starting getting her mammograms early, with her family history she was at high risk all the time.
That’s what Jenn is, proactive…that’s what saved her life.