Hi! I'm the Captain of team Dixie's Chicks! Dixie's Chicks was started in honor of my mom, Dixie Torok, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36 and lost her battle at 40 years old. I was 7 years old when we lost her and never even really got the chance to get to know her. Breast cancer robbed me of a life with my mom, which is why I fight back.
Many years after losing my mom, we learned she had one of the BRCA gene mutations, which drastically increases your chance of developing breast cancer. We now know this gene runs in our family and since my mom had it, me and my brothers all have a 50% chance of inheriting it.
I chose to get tested last year and found out that I did in fact inherit the BRCA2 gene from my mom, meaning I have a 70% chance of facing breast cancer in my lifetime.
Breast cancer took my mom, and now it’s coming for me.
This is why I have no choice but to fight back. Since starting my career at Komen in March of 2018, I’ve seen firsthand the lengths they are going to end this disease once and for all.
People sometimes ask how there still has been no cure for cancer found after all these years and all the money that has gone into cancer research. For one thing, cancer is not one disease. It’s hundreds of diseases. The good news is we are making progress. Breast Cancer specifically has made massive amounts of progress because of the work of organizations like Susan G. Komen. Twenty years ago, Breast Cancer would progress in early-stage patients. Now it doesn’t. Now we know how to treat an early-stage patient. Now patients are living who once wouldn’t have lived.
The fact alone that I could take a simple blood test to tell me whether or not I have a predisposition to breast cancer shows that we are in a different world today than we were 25 years ago when my mom was diagnosed. The cancer world is changing and improving, but as long as we are losing women (and men) to this disease, we have work to do.
My first and most important ask is that you take care of yourself. We are our own best advocates and it’s up to us as individuals to go get those preventative screenings and to look at our family history and decide what steps we want to take to try to stay ahead of our health as best we can.
The second is to take action because we owe to those we have lost, to those currently facing a diagnosis, to our future generations, and to ourselves.
One way you can take action is to donate. Let’s face it - we can’t move the needle or help the people in our communities without the necessary funding to keep our local breast health programs alive and our critical research going. If you are able, I encourage you to donate.
Another way to take action is to join my team! Now that we live in this virtual world - anyone can join no matter where you live! You can even go on a walk with your local friends and family on 9/20 (the day of the Orange County walk) and spend time telling them why this cause matters to you.
Thank you for reading this far! I hope you will consider donating and/or joining us in this worthwhile fight.