Today's challenge was to write a post about something that's in the news today. I've been scouring Google news, The Independent and Facebook/Twitter, to find something that really catches my eye. In the end, I found an article written this morning, in the Belfast Telegraph, about Angelina Jolie.
Don't panic, this is not a celebrity-gossip news story as, to be honest, I wouldn't class celebrity gossip as 'news' in the first place. But instead the focus is on breast cancer, which Angelina Jolie is - amongst other charitable work - raising awareness for.
This story has been circulating in the media for a week or so, and so rightly. The gist of the story is that Angelina knew that she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer (as she carries the BRCA1 gene) and made the brave decision to undergo major surgery to remove her breasts. As someone in the public eye, with so much emphasis on her appearance, this must have been an incredibly hard decision to make. Obviously, she can (and did) afford to get breast implants, but even so - celebrities are scrutinized, every inch of their body is analysed daily by people reading gossip magazines or watching the television, and she could easily receive criticism for having 'fake boobs,' but she understood that it was worth the risk. Not to mention the pain and discomfort that she'll have experienced.
She now has only a 5% chance of developing breast cancer and has been using this publicity to raise awareness of the importance of regular breast screenings, which I think is really admirable; "I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer," she said to the New York Times.
As somebody who has a strong family history of breast cancer, this story really stood out to me and I have a lot of respect for Angelina in opening up and being honest about her experiences. I don't believe she did it for any form of sympathy or to raise her profile, I believe she did it to raise awareness of the importance of screenings and, basically, getting yourself checked out.
Hopefully her honesty will inspire thousands of women (and men, yes, it does happen) to get themselves checked out.
You can find out more about breast cancer here: