Never Underestimate the Power of Family: How One Family Took Loss and Turned It into Something Much Greater – The story of a Komen Grantee
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Olivia Bonevento is a featured guest blogger for Komen CSNJ. She lives at the Jersey Shore and is currently a student at a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. Read more about Olivia on her personal blog – oliviabonevento.wordpress.com.
Family is important- there is no denying that. There is nothing greater than a love that a family has for each other. I have seen this especially through the last few months that I have worked for Komen Central and South Jersey — when I interviewed survivors at the Race for the Cure, the majority of them said that their families are what kept them going in their toughest times. Family is the glue that holds people together, especially in their times of struggle. The Clark family is a prime example of this.
The Clark family had their share of experience with breast cancer. The family lost two sisters (Brenda and Barbara) nine months apart, and their mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer previously. A third sister, Darnetta, was diagnosed as well, and has been in remission for 10 years following a double mastectomy. This family has also been infiltrated with other cancers- a fourth sister, Jackie, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Four out of the five Clark sisters were stricken with cancer at a young age, and the family had a hard time clinging to hope. When would it end? They truly didn’t know. But there was one thing they did know- that they had to band together as a family to further breast cancer awareness and education. Cancer is no joke- it doesn’t discriminate. There is no age or ethnicity that is immune. The family learned that they had to be proactive with their health and educate and empower not only themselves, but others as well. That’s how they started The Clark Family Breast Cancer Services in 2005. They are a grassroots foundation, meaning they started with nothing. In the years 2005-2007, they weren’t completely sure of what direction they wanted to go in. However, in 2007, they had a volunteer write a grant for Komen CSNJ to fund their educational outreach program, and it was accepted.