Four years ago, Alice Jackson, wife of AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson, went for a routine mammogram when she learned she had DCIS – stage 0 breast cancer – in both breasts. Armed with the knowledge of her doctors, she opted for a bilateral mastectomy to prevent the disease from reoccurring in an invasive form.
This experience inspired her and AutoNation to become a strong supporter of breast cancer research – committing $1 million to BCRF this year. The company is also the title sponsor of the inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl on December 19, the first college bowl game dedicated to breast cancer research. Ahead of the big game, Jackson spoke with BCRF about her diagnosis, treatment and why she believes research is the key to a world beyond breast cancer.
You and your family have been tremendously philanthropic in the area of cancer research, both personally and through AutoNation's cause initiatives. Why do you feel it is so important to invest in research?
I had the incredible opportunity to meet the Breast Cancer Research Foundation research recipients at a recent symposium. All 240 of them are passionate and so determined to find a cure for the many types of breast cancer. I had never been surrounded by a more dedicated group of individuals, some of whom have spent a lifetime making the strides that allow breast cancer research to come so far. They are believers, Mike and I are believers and the AutoNation 26,000-member family believes we can make a difference!
Can you tell us a bit about your personal experience with breast cancer; discovery, treatment and recovery?
In August of 2011 I went for my annual mammogram, which I diligently went to every 12 months. Expecting everything to be perfect I was surprised when they asked me to immediately go in for an ultrasound. I was diagnosed with DCIS in both breasts. Over the next few weeks we gathered information and several opinions on the best action to take with the best results, which was a bi- lateral mastectomy. I was so fortunate that I was diagnosed early so the cancer had not spread. I never knew there was a Stage 0 cancer and I will be forever grateful for that mammogram!
Recovery after a double mastectomy is somewhat overwhelming. I realized how much we use our core for the simplest things like getting out of bed and reaching for your coffee mug. With my phenomenal husband and family and friends by my side I was back at work in 5 weeks.
Has your breast cancer diagnosis changed your perspective in any way?
I have a view of every day being a blessing and a true appreciation of life’s big and small miracles. It sounds a bit cliché to be blessed for every day and being with my family but in a moment life can change.
How did breast cancer research play a role in you treatment?
After meeting with several doctors for opinions I learned the dedication and knowledge gained from researchers and was 100 percent comfortable with my decision to have the bilateral mastectomy.
Why is breast cancer research specifically important to AutoNation?
All of us have a family member, friend or acquaintance who has had breast cancer. Many of the AutoNation employees have been affected personally or through a family member or friend. With the wonderful enthusiasm and support of our AutoNation Family we are confident to be able to spread the word for support and awareness of the fight against breast cancer and how critical it is to find a cure for everyone in every phase afflicted with this disease.
What do you hope AutoNation customers will learn from the company's partnership with BCRF?
With 26,000 strong, Mike and I along with the entire AutoNation family want to show our passion that breast cancer has no borders and with exposure to the disease by Driving Pink we support and have confidence that we WILL find a cure.
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Breast Cancer Research Foundation28 West 44th Street, Suite 609, New York, NY 10036
General Office: 646-497-2600 | Toll Free: firstname.lastname@example.org | BCRF is a 501 (c)(3) | EIN: 13-3727250