My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer about 15 years ago. I watched as she endured surgery and a significant treatment regimen. It showed me just how terrible this disease can be on those diagnosed, but also on family and friends.

It changed my life – and my outlook on this disease. Seeing it in real life – the way my mom battled through it – affected my thought process about what breast cancer is. More importantly, it made me think more about what needs to happen to combat it. To make more people aware of it. To make sure those folks get the treatment that’s needed. And to make sure that treatment is state-of-the-art and cutting-edge.

It’s why I got involved with a local Susan G. Komen’s annual Race for the Cure event. This year is the 20th anniversary of Komen Wisconsin’s event, and I’m proud to serve as honorary chair.

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more research in this area than any other nonprofit. But Komen also provides some pretty impactful resources to those facing the disease. It was founded by Nancy Brinker, who promised her sister, Suzy Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

There’s a real community that builds around those affected by this disease – through Komen events, but elsewhere, too. I’ve seen it with my mom’s treatment and recovery, and I’ve seen it through folks at American Family who have had similar experiences. There’s a real subculture community of people who support one another. Grieve. Pray. Celebrate.

You can imagine the stories – and emotions – run the gamut. Breast cancer affects everyone differently, but the need for support and community is a common thread that ties them all together.

Want to help? There are plenty of ways – no matter where you live. Employees and agents from American Family are participating. Check out their fundraising pages online. Or maybe you have a family member or friend participating in your area? Cheer them on with dollars and high-fives.

This is built into the culture of our company and the actions of our people. This is part of how we do what’s right – for now and the future. Together, we can make an impact by funding additional cancer research, but also by helping patients and their families, and by building a community of support for our people dealing with this disease.

My mom was one of the lucky ones. She beat breast cancer. With your help, I’d like to see all women who get this terrible disease have the same access to outstanding treatment.