This Mother’s Day, protect your hope for the future

This Mother’s Day, protect your hope for the future

Moms, we try to do it all. Whether we are cooking at home, leading at work as the CEO, on the practice field being the cheerleader, triaging homework for school or taking a minute to relax and take a breath, we are all in.

I call it the Boss Mama paradox – holding in tension on behalf of all the people and activities we commit ourselves to leading. This Mother’s Day, our loved ones will celebrate everything we do and the important role we play in so many people’s lives. Many of us will receive cards and flowers, important gifts of appreciation from the people we love the most.

As a wife, mother, grandmother and longtime Orange County resident, I know firsthand that this community is an exceptional place for families. I also know that while moms are so busy taking care of others, we often forgo opportunities to take care of ourselves.

Please give yourself a gift this Mother’s Day. Protect your hope for the future by taking time out just for you. Sometimes we say to ourselves, “I feel fine,” so delaying or rescheduling just one more month isn’t a big deal, and you are probably right, but I also know that month quickly turns into three, and pretty soon it’s been a whole year.

Cancer rates are rising in people under 50 across the country and around the world. I am confident that you will also be surprised to know that despite Orange County’s reputation for healthy living, our early cancer diagnosis rates are higher than those in our surrounding counties. These new younger faces of cancer are our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and friends.

I have personally seen this trend, particularly in breast cancer. Many in this community have been diagnosed with this disease in their 40s or even 30s. No one, especially those in the prime of their lives, should have to confront a cancer diagnosis.

City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine, the most advanced comprehensive cancer center in Orange County, offers mammography, colonoscopy and other screenings in an environment designed around the needs of our patients.

Please, Boss Mama, make your appointments and trust your instincts. If you believe something is not right, talk to your doctor. If you’re still not satisfied, seek a second opinion. You will always be your best own best advocate.

If you’re a son, daughter, or spouse of a mom, remind her to follow up on all her important screenings. That’s the one way we can ensure that there will be more Mother’s Days and amazing Instagram moments for years to come.

The women of Orange County are truly inspiring. Thanks for all the blessings I have enjoyed being one of your neighbors. I wish all of you the gift of good health. 

Annette M. Walker is the mother of six, grandmother of 15 and president of City of Hope Orange County.

Also read:

Talking Hope: Helping write the “survival guide” for others: Meet lung cancer survivor Michelle Vacca

Grateful mother finds her healing place: City of Hope Orange County’s Gynecologic Cancer Program

Make Time For Breast Health, Urges Coto De Caza Mom