by Michael Kohn
When I was first approached to write a story about the Young Survival Coalition’s (YSC) Tour de Pink, a bike ride organized to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness, I wondered why the publisher would ask a man to cover a women’s issue. Soon after receiving the assignment, I learned that a former colleague and dear friend, who had moved away, lost her own battle with breast cancer. The news brought home the harsh
reality that breast cancer is not just a women’s issue, but one which affects everyone.
YSC was founded in 1998 by three young breast cancer survivors who made it their mission to raise awareness and provide support, education and advocacy services for women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40. All three were discouraged by the lack of information and resources available to young women for a disease which was traditionally thought to strike older women.
YSC, now an international organization and based in New York City with 27 affiliates throughout the United States, has filled that gap. The unique issues for young women include the side effects of chemo such as hair loss, fertility loss, body image after mastectomy, early menopause, career issues and dating issues.
Corinne Menn, M.D., of Chappaqua, was in the second year of her obstetrics and gynecology residency when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 29. Devastated, newly married and hoping to start a family, Corinne felt fortunate to quickly find YSC, which was dedicated to addressing the needs of the younger breast cancer patient. According to Corinne, “YSC provided the lifeline I needed,” by providing her with support from other young women who were in treatment or had survived breast cancer and were able to move on with their lives.
After multiple surgeries and chemotherapy, she is now a nine year survivor and has a family and an OB/GYN practice. This year, she felt it was time to give back to YSC. Along with her friend and fellow Chappaqua mom, Catherine Good, she decided to participate in the YSC Tour de Pink, a four day, 230 mile bike ride to raise money for YSC.
The ride, with nearly 200 riders, started in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and ended on October 4th with a celebratory ride in Manhattan ending at Fox News “Fox and Friends,” which featured them on their broadcast. As part of her Pink Panther Team, Corinne and Catherine raised close to $10,000.00. Corinne dedicated her ride to her friend, Nicole Lemieux, whom she met at YSC but who lost her own battle with breast cancer just shy of her 36th birthday.
As for the Tour de Pink, Corinne said, “We loved every minute of the ride and will definitely be back next year. It was a life affirming experience for me.” For more information about YSC, visit: www.youngsurvival.org. ;
By the way, my friend’s name was Lynn. She was 45. She left behind a husband and two children.
Michael Kohn is a contributing editor and writer to Inside Chappaqua.