31 Days of Impact – Day 29, Crystal King
The story of breast cancer is the story of people. Learn about Komen’s impact and work in the fight against breast cancer as told through the eyes of breast cancer survivors, researchers, community health workers and advocates. Read more stories.
CRYSTAL KING, Dallas, Texas – Breast Cancer Survivor, Advocate
“My battle with breast cancer was overwhelming – but it also brought clarity to my life and what I wanted for my future.”
“I share my story of survival with people, families, and others facing breast cancer. My hope is that my story will encourage, inspire, and help others who face breast cancer.”
“I am passionate about helping women and showing them that there is life – and hope – after breast cancer.”
On New Year’s Eve, 2003, I was on top of the world. The New Year brought both a wedding proposal and a great new job as a sales manager. Happy couldn’t describe my feelings at the time. As the year progressed, things seemed to be going great, but then, October rolled around.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer three years earlier, so I was very active during Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout the years. But that October, during a checkup, my doctor noticed something different that she wanted to check out further, and scheduled a mammogram. The next three weeks were surreal and everything happened so fast. My mammogram led to a biopsy followed by a mastectomy. Throughout it all, my mother was there to support me. As a survivor she was privy to treatment and knew exactly what I was going through. And as my mother, she completely understood my needs and provided much-needed emotional support.
When I first told my mother I was going to have a mammogram, she took a flight the next day to be by my side. She made the process a lot easier for me. She was there to walk me through the whole process. After my mastectomy, I began chemotherapy treatments. It was disheartening to my son, who was four years-old at the time, to see all the negative side effects of treatment – he didn’t handle it well at all. At one point, he even began to pretend to vomit and imitate all of the side effects that he saw me experience as a result of the chemotherapy.
My battle with breast cancer was overwhelming – I was in the midst of planning a wedding and of course, I was doing my best to ensure my son was comforted through it all. But, my battle with breast cancer also brought clarity to my life and what I wanted for my future. It gave me the confidence to try something new and to follow my passion to help others. In January of 2008, I quit my job. I began a new career in the nonprofit sector as the manager of multicultural marketing at Susan G. Komen for the Cure – a career that I’m passionate about – and it has been more than rewarding.
In my other role as a Pink Together Survivor Ambassador at Komen, I help women – just like me – overcome their battles. On a regular basis, I share my story of survival with people, families, and others facing this disease. My hope is that my story will encourage, inspire, and help others. I am passionate about helping women and showing them that there is life – and hope – after breast cancer.
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About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.