LEAWOOD, Kan. — A Leawood mom is featured in a new book that tells the stories of young breast cancer survivors.
Breast cancer in women under 40 is still fairly rare, but it’s the most common form of cancer in that age group. Now survivors like Janette Slusher are sharing their stories and giving back.
Slusher was a mother of three school-age children in 2007 who had went in for a couple mammograms that revealed no irregularities. Then she saw a campaign for women under 40 to feel for lumps in their own breasts.
“I just decided I think I need to check this out,” she said. “It feels a little weird.”
She’d find out it was a Stage 1 tumor. She had chemotherapy, and a doctor successfully removed it with a mastectomy.
She’s only ever met the woman who started the foundation behind that early detection campaign through Zoom.
“I’m so excited and proud, and it’s beautiful,” Slusher told Leigh Hurst on a Zoom call Wednesday holding a copy of the book “Say Something Big, Feel Your Boobies…Find Your Voice.”
“Say Something Big” tells Hurst’s own story of finding a lump at age 33 and the stories of five others.
“When I started to write about myself, I was reminded of all these women that had done something similar, found their own lumps at an early age, had been diagnosed and really dug in and made a difference,” Hurst said.
Slusher has since founded Peace Out Cancer, a nonprofit that’s donated 700 recliner lift chairs to women around Kansas City after mastectomies, helping them regain mobility and sleep comfortably.
“We deliver the chair, and we say, ‘We’ve been there. We’ve been in your shoes, and we are here to tell you and we are going to be here to give you hope and comfort and peace,’” Slusher said.
The book chronicles the step-by-step road from detection to diagnosis to each of the women finding their voice with those little lumps inspiring big change.
“I think what ‘Say Something Big’ really represents is this idea small life changes, little by little choices that you make a big impact in the way you live your life and the way your life affects other people,” Hurst said.
“It just goes to show that anybody can take a small act of kindness and do it for one person and it creates this ripple effect,” Slusher said.
“Say Something Big” is available exclusively on Feel Your Boobies ‘ website right now, with proceeds supporting the nonprofit foundation. It will also be available via Amazon later this month.