Newly-crowned Tokyo Olympic gold medalist, Beach Volleyball's April Ross carries her mother's memory with her, even on the sand.
"If something goes our way, I tap my chest and I point up to the sky like, thanks mom, for helping us get that point," Ross said.
The three-time Olympic medalist was 19 years old when she lost mom, Margie, to breast cancer.
"She came to all my practices in all my games in high school, and she never really got to see you know kind of the culmination of all that effort," Ross said.
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A breast cancer survivor myself, we met for a virtual chat just before Ross left for the FIVB World Tour Finals in Italy this week.
She first made sure her mammogram appointment was all set.
"Mine's actually scheduled for October 14 when I get back, so yeah go get your mammogram," she said.
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April's goal: early detection for all women.
According to the American Cancer Society - approximately one in eight of us will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, and one in 39 women will die from breast cancer.
She's now partnering with GE Healthcare on its "Don't Skip" campaign to empower women to schedule their mammograms.
The company putting up bold reminders, currently at Boston's Logan Airport, reminding women to get checked.
"There's so many things about health in general that's kind of taboo and so to break those boundaries, and really literally put it in people's faces, is so important," Ross said.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down or stopped elective procedures including mammograms. One study shows screening mammograms began to rebound in May 2020 but remained 14% below expectations even months later.
So Ross says she'll keep talking, and talking about getting checked, for her mom.
"I just feel like she's speaking through me and you know I'm honoring her memory," she said.
"It's really empowering to take control of your own health and know that you're on it. and again, the younger you start, the more likely you get a clean bill of health and you just stay on it year after year," Ross added.