October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which means there are usually lots of pink ribbons and fundraisers. I was recently honored to capture a wonderful local family and realized that I wanted to talk about breast cancer awareness in a slightly different way. I want to focus on the power of family and community and what we can do to help.
Please meet the Weststeyns and learn more about this amazing family and their cancer journey. Mike and Amy Weststeyn and the majority of their families have lived in the Ripon area for a long time and have deep roots in the community through their local business and church involvement. Meet Amy’s beautiful family and learn more about her journey to find ways you can help others walking the same path.
Leaning on Community During Breast Cancer
This loving and growing family was doing well until Amy received terrible news. On January 1st, 2010, Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a clear mammogram the month before but decided to get the recently discovered lump checked out.
The family was shocked to learn that it was breast cancer. For women in their 30’s, it can be common for breast tissue to become dense and solid, making it easy for mammograms to miss. This is not meant to cause fear, but should empower you to always get any lumps checked out. Always trust your instincts!
Thankfully, the Westysteyns’ had a great support system and leaned on family, community, and God during Amy’s year of breast cancer treatments. At first, Amy chose to keep their breast cancer journey quiet. She felt it was easier to do so but soon realized that she had an incredible support system that wanted to help her and her family in any way. I’m happy she did because her community was there to help.
How to Help Someone with Breast Cancer
How do you help someone who is battling breast cancer? You can start small by simply reaching out to let her know that you’re thinking of her and care for her. Depending on the family’s journey, you could offer to drop off a meal or snacks or do a Target run. Making a specific offer is always helpful rather than an open-ended one such as “Let me know if you need anything” vs. “I’m stopping at Target tomorrow, what can I pick up for you?”
One of the best ways to help is by adding her and her family to your prayers.
Capturing Your Family Through Photography
We’re so grateful that Amy’s breast cancer journey is over, and she can look forward to what’s ahead. Amy loves spending time with her high schooler and college-age kids; Beth, Erik, and Megan. Beth is attending UC Davis and studying Ag Economics and Biotechnology in the Master’s Program. Erik is attending California Polytechnic State University. Megan is a sophomore at Ripon Central High School.
There’s a lot to look forward to – especially next fall as Beth marries the love of her life!
Taking time to schedule and take family portraits is so important for Amy to capture her growing family, and I am honored she chose me to take them!