Remembering and celebrating our mothers
Mother’s Day can be bittersweet for those who have lost a mother. The Lynn Sage Foundation Associate Board member, Lindsay Feldman, recognizes that pain while acknowledging some unexpected gifts that grew from her loss.
“Breast cancer has impacted my entire life both positively and negatively. While I lost my mother at a very young age, her tenacity and strength has always been an inspiration to me and helped me get through many tough situations. My experience helped me become a stronger, more independent person, and has allowed me to be a support system for others who are similarly impacted by this illness.”
Just nine-years-old when she lost her mom, Lindsay sounds very much like the mother she remembers.
“My mother, Laurie Feldman, was indescribably strong, poised, witty, hilarious, intelligent, gorgeous, and stylish beyond belief. Even being diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 30 could not dull her shine. If anything, it gave her more fire. I was two-years-old and my brother was nine-months-old when she was diagnosed in 1990, so my earliest memories of my mother include breast cancer. My mother’s sister, aunt, grandmother, and her father, had also been terminally ill with breast cancer, so this disease had impacted our entire family for generations.”
After her initial diagnosis, Laurie unfortunately discovered only two years later that her breast cancer had metastasized. She underwent a peripheral stem-cell rescue treatment transplant procedure, which was considered experimental at the time. She found herself at the center of a health care debate and fighting her insurance company for coverage. The procedure gave her extra time, but Laurie passed away in September 1996.
“Before my mother passed away, she created a research foundation in her own name at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.” As an adult, Lindsay continued to find “the idea of a research foundation appealing because you know exactly where your money is going when you donate. I also think it provides a more intimate giving experience. This is especially true with the Lynn Sage Foundation because we have the pleasure of meeting and engaging with the Lynn Sage Scholars themselves. It didn’t take much convincing for me to be interested in joining!”
Volunteering as an Associate Board member of The Lynn Sage Foundation has helped Lindsay establish connections that can be difficult to come by when your life, in large part, has been defined by breast cancer.
“Because I lost my mother at such a young age, it has been hard for me to find people with a shared experience. At board meetings, we occasionally go around the room and share why we got involved. A disproportionate amount of people in the group shared experiences of their mothers battling breast cancer. It has been really wonderful to connect with people who have been similarly affected. Without even really knowing someone, but just knowing you share that experience, gives you a sort of instant connection and sense of community.”
Which is exactly why Lindsay wants people to know, especially this Mother’s Day, that you’re not alone. “There are so many people out there who have struggled — either personally or watched someone close to you struggle — with this disease.”
Supporting the innovative research that can redefine what it means to have breast cancer makes all the difference.
“Please get tested! Even though I’m negative for both BRAC1 and BRAC2, I am able to undergo more preventative testing at a younger age because of my family history. I would not have access to this without having gotten tested in the first place. As my mother always said, knowledge is power, and having this knowledge and access to preventative testing gives you a sense of control over your body.”
Honor the mothers like Laurie in your life with a donation to The Lynn Sage Foundation. Your gift supports the innovative research of our Lynn Sage Scholars, working tirelessly to change the trajectory of breast cancer.
Thank you for your support and enjoy a Happy Mother’s Day!