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Breast cancer scare turns family into preventive care advocates

When it comes to personal health, the Love family is all about prevention. In the words of Moda employee Rick Love, "I doesn't matter who you are or what it is, if you can get it, have it checked. It's that simple. So why not?"

As simple as this may sound, the Love family's proactive stance to healthcare wasn't always that easy. Personal challenges and a family history of cancer have led to their newfound approach.

In 2011, Rick's wife, Pam, was diagnosed with colon cancer. While it's never easy to hear that you or a loved one has cancer, Rick said they were thankful that it was caught in the early stages. This allowed her doctors to act quickly. Today, Pam is cancer-free, but being diagnosed with colon cancer increased her risk for breast cancer.

Fast forward two years, and a routine mammogram exam found a lump in Pam's breast. Fortunately, the lump was not cancerous and removed. These two experiences, however, turned the Love family into preventive care advocates. Along with scheduling screenings and regular preventive visits, Rick, Pam and their two grown daughters participate and volunteer at local cancer fundraising events.

Giving back together

In 2015, Rick was asked to captain of the Moda Team in Portland's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. With Pam by his side, together they co-captained Moda employees in the annual breast cancer fundraiser.

Rick also took on the challenge of raising money for the event. For a goal of raising $500, he committed to wearing a pink ballerina tutu, a popular attire at the annual walk. With the help of several generous donors, Rick raised more than $600 and sported a tutu that Pam made for him.

Today, the Love family continues to give back their time to local charities including the American Cancer Society.

Due to his own health, Rick's can no longer walk a 5K. This challenges him to find other ways to give back. He's currently a board member at Just Compassion, a faith-based, non-denominational coalition of civic and business organizations that work together to create a safe and hospitable environment for the homeless in Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood. He attends board meetings, volunteers on Laundry Days and at the group's Homeless Resource Center, and provides donations to help those trying to get back into the workforce.

A new family mantra

Love said that if there's anything his family can do to be proactive about their health, they do. This includes the challenge of encouraging other family members and friends to get important screenings. While he'll be the first to admit that screenings aren't fun, if you have access to healthcare and it's covered, he says it would be ridiculous not to book preventive doctor visits.

From his own personal experiences, Love says that cancer isn't the death sentence that it used to be. Preventive care is the key to turning the odds of survival back in a person's favor.

The Love family has seen firsthand the impact preventive visits and screenings can have on a loved one's health. That's why when it comes to preventive care, the Love family's mantra is to ask, "Why not?"

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