Breast cancer awareness events go virtual during pandemic

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is a difficult month for Anna Crollman.

"It's a reminder of those I have lost to breast cancer and also my own journey," Crollman said.

The Apex mom was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer when she was 27.

"A double mastectomy, fertility preservation and chemotherapy and that went on about six years." Crollman said. "Over the next couple years I had multiple reconstruction surgeries and I've been on hormone-blocking medication for five years since."

Crollman created the blog My Cancer Chic to help other young women diagnosed with cancer.

According to Susan G. Komen, the largest breast cancer foundation in the country, 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

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While breast cancer organizations usually have in-person events and fundraisers, this October will be different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"No walks this year," Crollman said. "I will be social distancing and doing different campaigns with amazing nonprofits all around the nation, but everything will be online this year."

Susan G. Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast events this month are going virtual, raising awareness and engaging people in new ways, said executive director Krista Park Berry.

"Breast cancer doesn't stop in a crisis," Park Berry said. "Neither do we, and support is still needed."

Park Berry said they like to think about this month as breast cancer "action" month since awareness is out there.

"Now what is it that can we do during this month and throughout the year to really make sure research is funded, patients have the support that they need, and individuals can access the patient care and services wherever they live, no matter who they are," Park Berry said.

Park Berry is aware some may be delaying mammograms due to fears around COVID-19.

"We are encouraging patients to go ahead and move forward with their screening because what we don't want to see is too many women delaying those screenings, which we know can help detect cancer earlier," Park Berry said.

While seeing the pink ribbons may be difficult for Crollman, this month is also a reminder.

"It's a constant reminder of the work that we need to do to educate and advocate for more," Crollman said.
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