I’ve never been influenced much by national month designations.
Oh, I might eat a little more ice cream in June because it’s dairy month..or at least that’s my excuse for eating more ice cream.
But I don’t spend a lot of time in March contemplating women because it’s women’s history month.
I don’t need alcohol awareness month in April to make me be more aware of alcohol or National Picnic Month in July as an incentive to experience more open-air dining.
Before I quit smoking, I used to have a few “extra” cigarettes during the Great American Smokeout in November as my way of rebelling against those trying to get me to give ‘em up for just a day.
But I’ve changed..especially about this month of October which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I was reminded this week of a personal connection to that awful disease.
I’ve written here before about my double cousin, Marty.
She’s the one who makes me laugh and makes me think.
She has, with limited success, tried to enlighten me about issues and authors and all sorts of causes that are important to her.
On Monday, Marty sent me an e-mail telling about a story on KARE TV in which her wonderful fun-loving daughter, Amy Erickson, was featured.
Unfortunately, my family really didn’t get a chance to know Amy as well as we’d have liked. We usually only saw each other at weddings, funerals or our annual reunion of double cousins.Among all her sisters and cousins, Amy was always the life of the party.
I can still hear the laughter.
We knew Amy worked at a small Minnesota company called “Caribou Coffee.”
What we didn’t realize is how important she was to that company and its employees.
Amy’s passion for quality coffee led her to become Caribou’s first roastmaster. She traveled the world in search of the finest beans and then, using her special tasting skills, she would experiment with various blends in search of that perfect cup of coffee.
It was Amy, more than anyone, her co-workers say, who made Caribou Coffee the huge nationwide success it is today.
Sadly, she didn’t live to see the scope of that success.
Amy Erickson Amy’s Blend from Caribou It was at one of those cousin reunions that we first noticed Amy wearing a handkerchief wrapped around her head and learned she was undergoing chemotherapy.
At the tender age of 28, Amy had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Knowing her time was limited, she focused even more intently at Caibou.. blending and tasting and promoting the finest coffees. Her enthusiasm, dedication and good humor never wavered throughout her long ordeal which ended in 1995.
To honor her memory, Caibou Coffee has tied itself to breast cancer research and each year, donates 100 thousand dollars from the sale of “Amy’s Blend” which was Amy’s favorite combination of coffee beans.
It’s sold for a limited time at all Caibou coffee shops across the country including Sioux Falls.
I’ll be picking up a couple packages of Amy’s Blend this afternoon and probably leave a few extra dollars as a remembrance to the cousin I wish I’d have known better.
Afterall, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month was in September but I don’t think I’ll wait until next September to have the exam..especially after learning last week that two of my best friends recently had the test and it’s a good thing they did.
Jim Woster and Myron Lee will each be undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.
The good news is it was caught early thanks to regular screenings..embarrassing as they might be.
I hope you’ll keep them both in your thoughts and prayers.