Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Inspirational Youth: Interview with Valentina Acava Mmaka

Recently, my sister and I were interviewed by Ms. Mmaka, who writes for the Kabiliana Blog, about our mother's breast cancer. Below is the copy of the interview. In our efforts to raise money for breast cancer research and treatment, we encourage you to donate to this wonderful cause! Also, if you want to join my family's team, go to the Race For The Cure Website, register, join a team, and type in "Christina's Fight Against Breast Cancer".
                                     Inspirational Youth!

After a while away from this blog, I'm back again and for the occasion I have a nice story to share with you. It's what I like to call an inspirational story which may be good to many young girls and boys who want to feel committed in real life.

I'm mother of three teens and sometimes I've been asked how can they get  involved in something which can make the difference in their daily life. It's an endless topic, the world is full of causes to sponsor, raise and support, doesn't matter as long as someone feels deeply committed and ready to invest time, skills, and share for the good. Here an inspirational experience...

Christina and John Bowllan

In this post I'm proposing you an interview to John Anthony Bowllan and Christina Bowllan, brother and sister who happen to have a wonderful mother Amy Bodden Bowllan . 

KABILIANA – John and Christina, would you like to tell a little bit of your story?

John: My name is John Anthony Bowllan. I am attending Deerfield Academy for my high school career but this year (junior year), I will be heading off to France for School Year Abroad (SYA). I have a great interest seeing how the different countries all around the world interact with each other and how they work together. All of the cultures differ significantly from one another so it will be great seeing the world from a whole other perspective. When I am not studying, I love playing basketball and training for wrestling at the gym. But my favorite sport that I play with the family is tennis. We all know how to play well so it is fun competing with my mother and sister.

Christina: Hi! I am Christina Bowllan. Currently, I am in the 8th grade in an all- girl school called The Hewitt School, and it is on the Upper East Side.  When it comes to sports I love to play basketball, soccer, tennis and badminton.  In my free time I love to make videos about what I am doing and right stories.

KABILIANA – When did you come involved in raising awareness on breast cancer?

John: I started raising awareness for breast cancer in 2007. The family and I joined my sister’s school team every year, which would raise money for breast cancer while we ran the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. I became even more involved during and after my mother’s breast cancer in 2011.

Christina: I became involved with raising money for breast cancer in 2006. At the time, I wasn’t really aware of what I was doing, but as I got older, I invested myself with Susan G. Komen.

KABILIANA – How this experience affected you in percepting the reality around you and your daily life as well? What are the three things you learned from this experience?

John: My mother’s breast cancer situation shocked me at first because of the statistic that 1 in every 8 women gets breast cancer at some point in her life. The odds were supposed to be in our favor but this situation made me realize that I can never be sure. The situation deteriorated my spirits because so many women die of breast cancer every year and it was up to my mom to fight this deadly disease. But this affected me in a positive way because my mom went to hell and back fighting this disease and came out a victor. I learned that there is always hope even if the darkest of times. My mom needed to have it because her life depended on it. Lastly, I learned that I need to cherish every moment with someone because I will never know if it will be the last.

Christina: In my opinion, this breast cancer experience made me stronger and more indipendent. Having to see my mom in chemotherapy and losing her hair had an impact on me. Three things I learned during this time is one, with family you can conquer anything. My mom, had her sisters and brother, my dad, my brother and I. We all considered this 'our breast cancer'. Second, I did a lot of research on breast cancer. I found out that not all tumors are cancerous. Some are benign, which means they are harmless, and some are malignant, which means, cancerous. My mom's was malignant. Third, from this experience I learned how strong my mom actually is. Of course, I knew my mom was amazing and tough for just being my mom, but watching a video of her in surgery, and losing her hair, and just defeating breast cancer really was an eye opener.

KABILIANA – How being conscious of a problem can “help” in going over it?

John: Well, if my mother was not conscious of this problem, the cancer would have taken her life. So we were blessed to find out that we found the cancer just in time. But more importantly, my mother needed to be conscious of the cancer to fight it. Building up the strength to fight a deadly disease takes mental preparation in addition to the search for hope. 

Christina: Being conscious of a problem can 'help' in going over it, because in my case, I was able to analyze the problem and help in anyway I can. If I wasn't conscious of the problem I would be confused on what to do to help. Also, knowing what the problem is, can help because you can do research, and  guide the person in need of help.
KABILIANA – Breast Cancer is something that you both lived in prime line as a family experience and for this reason you felt deeply involved. How did your friends supported you? Did you find encouragement, participation?

John: Many of my friends and teachers at school wished my mother well when I was uncertain of her fate. But I found encouragement when the doctors told our family that she would be fine and from my mother’s progress.

Christina: My friends, family and school were very supportive through this tough time! Everyone always wanted to know what he/she could do to make this easy for the family. We had food delivered to us every week from Fresh Direct and by the end of the summer we had about 60 cards from friends and family. I couldn' t have asked for a better support group. When, it came down to the race, I had so many people wanting to raise money. By October 2011, (the end of fundraising) I had raised $550.
KABILIANA – What would you like to tell to any mates of your same age about this cause and how can they join and what tips would you give to any young person who would like to join a cause?

John: If a family member or loved one has breast cancer, show your support and love to them. When diagnosed, everything in life seems darker and more hopeless. Trust me when I say that love and support gives hope to the person with cancer. Love eliminates the loneliness. But anyone can help others with this issue in their family. If you have a friend that is going through this, give your condolence and offer to help them in any way. You can also donate money to teams that are running the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure. The money goes toward breast cancer research and treatment.

Christina: For teens my age that have a mom with breast cancer or just found out, don't worry! If there is one piece of advice that I can give you is, don 't freak out and panic. Help  out. For example, bring your mom tea and go with her to appointments.  During this experience, I learned that you have to show your mom that you are also brave. That is the only way she will fight harder.
Now for raising money for breast cancer: This is a great cause! A lot of the money you fundraise goes to mammograms (the way they find out if you have it), Wigs for women and goes toward finding a cure. Getting involved is  easy! All you do is go to a  cite that raises money for breast cancer. I chose  Susan G. Komen. Then comes the fun part  which is... fundraise. You can ask your friends, family and post it on your Facebook page. The key is to get it as known as possible. After that comes the annual breast cancer walk and that is a blast! It is so much fun because, it is like a party. There are pink balloons everywhere! There are cheerleaders cheering you on all the way. Then, at the end there is music and stands of gifts and give always and it is a day to remember. The Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure is 3 miles long. Well, all I can now is, get involved! Make it fun and let's " run breast cancer out of town"


TO KNOW MORE ABOUT  BREAST CANCER HERE SOME LINKS (Any country you live, you can just Google keywords about breast cancer or any other cause and you'll be lead to many useful sites)

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