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LIVING WITH BREAST CANCER

Rethink Remembers: Shannon McGinty

By Rethink Contributor November 7 2019

When Rethink started the MBC Advisory Board just short of two years ago, we were aware of the collective reality we were all living with. Everyone on this board either had MBC or knew someone they loved who had MBC. Recently, the reality of this disease and all that we fight for from access to new and innovative therapies to more support and awareness for the disease came into focus even more.

Shannon, who sat on our board and was extremely intelligent, passed away from MBC. Shannon was not only smart, but a genuine person who had a kind heart and a realness to her that made her authentic in a world where authenticity is lost amidst the noise of others simply trying to gain popularity, likes, and followers.

When I think back to all that she stood for and believed in there’s one thing about Shannon that she possessed that made her unique to others and how she fought for our cause. When she saw the unfairness and the very real reality that existed in this country when it came to accessing life sustaining drugs and the way in which they were funded, she spoke up. I remember a particular meeting with an elected official where Shannon came in prepared, confident, factual, and proceeded to list the issues that many with MBC faced and what it meant to live one’s life with an incurable disease.

Shannon was a woman of complete integrity. She would put her time and energy into places where she felt it would have the most prominent impact. And guess what? When she felt that something did not seem right or was fruitless in terms of continuing to put her time and energy into it, she simply stopped. She didn’t do what the masses did, but rather she always led with her heart and the notion of whether what she was doing was right. Shannon was fearless – she didn’t feel that all our advocacy efforts should be focused into putting pressure on the government because that was only a single component, but rather we should be holding industry and other stakeholders, with the same level of accountability. That is what made the Rethink MBC Advisory Board a good fit for her – the organization shared the same grit and integrity.

Yes, Shannon was a courageous advocate, but she was so much more. She was a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. First and foremost, the loss of her life will leave a crater in the hearts of her family and all those who loved her. Personally, as I reflect on another devastating loss from this disease I will move forward and constantly listen to that voice in my heart that is telling me to stop, slow down, and accept that life is not about saying yes to everything. Life is not about speeding through our days, accomplishing meaningless tasks, and then repeating it over and over again. Life is about living in the moment, about being present with those we love, and about opening our hearts to living fearlessly and authentically. Having the capability to step back and say no when you feel it so deep within your gut is ok. To give your valuable time to those you love with no regrets. Shannon left an imprint on my life that I will forever be thankful for. She taught me that moral principle should always lead one’s life choices and to never settle for anything less. Thank you Shannon for giving your valuable time to help others in an attempt to change the future of this awful disease…I simply wish your time didn’t run out so soon.

– XO Judit