COLORADO SPRINGS — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a local organization wants to shift the mindset, and remind people that it's also Breast Cancer Prevention Month.
The organization is called the Becky Baker Foundation, which was founded three years ago after Becky Baker lost her battle to breast cancer. Her husband at the time, Rick Baker, began the organization in her name after she passed.
"One of the last things she said to me was, 'I'm sorry that no one will remember my name.' And I said, 'You know what Becky, I promise no one is ever going to forget your name.'"
Since founding the organization in 2017, Baker has helped provide more than 3,000 free mammograms and thermograms to people in the Colorado Springs community and throughout the country.
He says the best way to beat breast cancer is to prevent it and about 60% of women don't go for their annual screening.
"The idea is that when we give people a screening, that's the beginning of breast cancer prevention in their life," said Baker. "In Becky's name and through her passing, we've saved hundreds of women."
One local women whose life was saved after a self-check is Carrie Bacon, a 40-year-old woman in Colorado Springs. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2019.
"I had had previous lumps removed and they were non cancerous, so I thought for sure this was just another situation like that, said Bacon. "But then the surgeon calls you and tells you that it's cancer, and so from that moment on, everything pretty much changes."
Bacon began treatment right away, underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, and had a double mastectomy in January. She describes the past year as life-changing.
"It was an experience to say the least, and usually one, in my opinion, if you can look at it with a good perspective, should change you for the better hopefully," said Bacon.
Bacon, who is an athletic trainer said, her fitness is what helped motivate throughout her battle with the disease.
"When I was going through chemo, I worked out almost every day. You have to try to have some sense of normalcy because nothing outside of that is normal, from losing your hair, to being bald, to being extremely sick, to all of these things," said Bacon. "Working out was the only sense of control that I had."
Bacon is now cancer-free, but Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month have a whole new meaning for her, and she has a message for other women out there.
"It's absolutely imperative that we are being an advocate for our own health," said Bacon. "Self checking on a regular basis is so important, just to make sure that you're noticing any changes, and do your mammograms. It's not something you should ever put off."
Baker mentioned there is a waiting list in Colorado Springs of people wanting to get a free mammogram or thermogram. They typically cost around $200. However, he said this month is all about educating our community about the importance of prevention.
"We don't want anybody to die, and a breast cancer death is just absolutely unforgettable, so we're trying to keep that from happening," said Baker.
An event called "Burpees for Boobies" is being held on Wednesday night at F45 Training Stetson Hills. For every burpee done, money will be donated to the cause and support women in the Colorado Springs area. The event starts at 5 p.m. and there will also be a silent auction held. All the proceeds raised will go directly toward the Becky Baker Foundation.
"For me, it's a no brainier," said Bacon. "Any time I can be a part of something like this and share my story to help other women be aware, how to prevent breast cancer, and what to look for, I'm 100% in."
Baker described Becky as a dog lover who had a green thumb. She found a small lump in her breast, and three months later it advanced to Stage 3. Doctors gave her three months to live.
For more information about the foundation, click here.