Every October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we honor those who've bravely faced the disease and rededicate ourselves to continue fighting for a cure. In raising awareness, we're reminded just how important sharing our journeys can be to not only help educate others but truly empower them as well. Throughout the United States alone, it's estimated that there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors — including several renowned female athletes. Below, scroll through to learn more about four awe-inspiring sports players and how they've impacted the movement.
Edna Campbell, known as one of the most standout players in WNBA history, made her mark on the game during her four-season tenure with the former Sacramento Monarchs. During her second season in 2002, Campbell was diagnosed with breast cancer — but to the surprise of many, she continued to play throughout treatment. In turn, Campbell became the first active women's basketball player to be affected by the disease. Now as a 12-year survivor, author of The Breast Cancer Recovery Manual, and founder/program director of Breathe and Stretch, the pro vet continues to use her experience as a vessel for motivating people impacted by the disease worldwide.
Novlene Williams-Mills is a Jamaican-born world champion sprinter who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2012 — just a few weeks shy of the London Summer Olympic Games. She provided an intimate account of her journey — from finding out about her disease to becoming cancer free — to ESPN, which appeared in ESPN The Magazine's infamous Body Issue in 2017. Within her feature interview, Williams-Mills discussed the intricacies of competing with breast cancer and the many grueling realities of experiencing a double mastectomy. Read the full article here.
Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall was diagnosed with breast cancer this year, opening up about her health via a candid Instagram post in July. The trailblazing cross-country athlete is quoted saying, “It's a scary thing to learn you have cancer and I have wondered every day since how this could have possibly happened to me. But I have promised myself that I will remain positive and active and determined throughout my treatment. I am going to bring as much tenacity, strength, and energy toward this challenge as I have throughout my entire career." Almost daily, Randall provides fans and supporters alike regular updates on her ongoing treatment and various breast cancer awareness campaigns through social media and a self-titled blog.
In 2000, all-American athlete Karen Newman competed for Team USA at the World Triathlon Championships held in Edmonton, Canada. Eight years later, Newman was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she continued to compete throughout treatment including chemotherapy. Today, she's taken on the role of a public speaker who travels the world to talk about her life as a survivor-athlete determined to help find a cure for cancer and spread awareness.
If you’re looking for ways to lower your risk of developing breast cancer, check out our list of wellness tips here! For more information on breast cancer and preventative measures, visit breastcancer.org.