Campaigna for Dana 2016

Donate to OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute here.

My beautiful mom, Dana Upshaw, passed away October 8, 2011. She had breast cancer, went into remission for 10 years, then had breast cancer again. She never wanted that to define her and, for the vast majority of her life, it didn’t. I’m sure she would be bothered that this story begins with that.

She was always irritated by breast cancer awareness campaigns. She never wanted her latte in a pink paper cup. She had an irrational hatred for Halloween. And so it’s ironic that the month she died and the month in which I’ve chosen to celebrate her life each year and, yes, raise money for breast cancer research, falls in October: the month of breast cancer awareness AND Halloween.

But I think she’d like this campaign because she was passionate about medicine. She was amazed at the progress that had been made in breast cancer treatment in the decade that passed between her two stints as a patient. And she donated her body to science, an act I find incredibly inspiring, so that researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University (where she had received phenomenal, world class treatment) could uncover as much information as possible about this deadly disease.

Over 2 years, we’ve raised $6,390 for cancer research at OHSU. And this year, I believe we can hit a round $10,000.

When my mom died, I inherited her eclectic, beautiful jewelry collection. She boldly embraced things that I would typically not wear: bright colors, whacky shapes, camels/lobsters/armadillos/zebras… All of these whacky objects capture her sense of humor and her radiant self confidence perfectly. And so, each year in October, I love looking through her collection and finding ways to wear 31 pieces throughout the month. What I love even more are the photos I see taken by friends and family (using #CampaignaForDana) of jewelry and other items that remind them of strong women in their lives. I encourage you to follow along this year, I encourage you to donate to OHSU, and I especially encourage you to proudly wear something that reminds you of a strong woman in your life and, if you’re up for it, share it with me using the hashtag.

Thank you,


Follow along with the campaign here on Medium and on Instagram: @marthauphayes

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