I had the pleasure to sit down and speak with Linda Bonanno also known as Litty, co-founder of got checked? Linda and Donna Cioffi are the founders and driving force behind the got checked? breast cancer initiative. Along with their partners Zwanger-Pesiri and the First Company Pink organization, they are changing the way we think about breast cancer. First Company Pink is the only charity to date with a call to action campaign, got checked?
Being a woman and under 40 I always thought I have time before I need to worry about a mammogram but after hearing the stories of these women and others like them I have a new mindset. Prior to a new bill championed by Bonanno and Cioffi, Shannon’s Law, women in New York State were not covered by insurance for mammograms under 40. That all changed recently when Gov. Cuomo signed a bill for the new age of insurance coverage to be 35 years and older in New York State. The legislation known as Shannon’s law was named after a teacher from Long Island, Shannon Saturno who past away from breast cancer at the age of 31.
“I am not a survivor I am a fighter.”
Lowering the mammogram age is just one of the many amazing initiatives driven by Got Checked. When talking with Litty it was very clear her passion is to educate everyone on breast cancer no matter what age, gender or race.
Got checked has been in schools all over the New York area teaching our young children to pledge their commitment to knowing their family medical history up to teaching teens how to take proactive measures in regard to breast health. They have created a family packet to encourage everyone’s participation as they believe prevention starts at home.
From got checked? records, their recording label for songs with positive messages, to writing books these ladies have done it all. Linda is the author/co-author of I Got Checked and I Feel Good, Listen to Litty and Decode your Future. Each book targets a different audience from children, teens and adults about breast cancer awareness and prevention.
As I was sitting with Litty and she was talking I was honestly blown away by how strong and passionate she is about life. I had asked her a question in regard to being a breast cancer survivor and she said “I am not a survivor I am a fighter.” It was clear to me that her battle with cancer was difficult but instead of feeling sorry for herself she decided to use that experience to fuel her dedication for awareness and prevention of breast cancer to others. I was inspired by her powerful energy and dedication to helping all people. She was also clear that breast cancer is not just a female issue but a human issue. Although it is very rare for a man to develop breast cancer when your mother, sister, wife or anyone in your life experiences breast cancer it effects everyone.
All I have to say is cancer is no match for these women. The passion and dedication that radiates from their initiatives and their vision is truly inspiring
Have you got checked?