October is breast cancer awareness month. With plenty of pink in the air, this annual campaign was created to increase awareness about the disease, but for many like breast cancer survivor Lola Etheridge, it is more of a daily journey about sharing her story, helping others and reminding them that there is hope.
“God is using her story for His glory and that is what it’s all about. When she was diagnosed, I lived by the thought God was going to perfectly heal her. I was not sure which side of Heaven it would be on, but that He would perfectly heal her, because He is a perfect God with perfect timing. We have found peace in knowing that,” said Scott Etheridge, Lola’s husband and co-survivor.
Grounded in her faith, with the support of her family, friends and loved ones, everyone who knows Etheridge hails her as a champion on many levels – as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and friend – as a survivor who offers others hope, and as one, who is committed to finding a cure.
“If you choose to live in the miracle of faith, then wherever that may lead you, you will find peace. You will find the strength to get through whatever it may be. Whether you have tomorrow, or whether you have ten years, because we are not promised how long we have,” said Lola Etheridge.
One way Etheridge gives back to the community and touches the lives of others is by volunteering with Susan G. Komen’s Greater Nashville Affiliate. She serves on the Board of Directors and her duties include chairing the Race for the Cure Survivors’ Tent and co-chairing the Survivors’ Celebration Silent Auction.
As part of her role, Etheridge also serves as a Nashville area spokesperson to further awareness. She and other survivors have recently been featured locally in ad campaigns, on billboards and on radio station Web sites, including Nashville’s www.103wkdf.com and www.1045thezone.com.
Lola, a seven-year survivor, said she is committed to helping and educating those who face a similar diagnosis. Her work gives her an opportunity to advise those that have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer to seek out as much information as possible and to understand the various treatment options.
Just three months after her original mastectomy, she participated in her first Race for the Cure by joining a team of Komen supporters at her husband’s work.
This year, Etheridge and her family participated Susan G. Komen Greater Nashville 5K Race for the Cure at Maryland Farms in Brentwood, TN on Saturday, October 26. Over the past few years, the race has become an annual tradition for the family.
“Scott and our girls – Laura, Jessica and Jennifer do the race together each year to remember and to celebrate life. It’s one of the ways they show their support,” Etheridge said.
“There are so many special people that get involved with Susan G. Komen for their own reasons,” she continued. “One thing that really encouraged me, were all of the women who walked this journey before me. These ‘angels’ took ‘me under their wings when I began my journey and they stuck with me through everything I have had to face. Now, I continue to try to do the same for others.”
In addition to the 5k, the festivities on Saturday also featured a Race Village with live entertainment as well as other survivor services and vendor booths. Many dressed in pink, approximately 20,000 walkers and runners participated. Nashville’s first Race for the Cure was held in 1992 at Centennial Park. The event attracted about 500 people.
Officials said the event raises close to a $1 million dollars, annually. Funds go toward medical research, projects and services.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Statistics show that one in eight women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Each year, it is estimated that over 220,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer.