Her Story: Atlanta's Brittainey Raven

The WNBA is dedicated to raising funds and awareness of breast cancer during the week of August 3rd to August 10th. Throughout the week, players around the league will share stories of how the disease has affected them and those closest to them in a feature known as "Her Story."

My grandmother and aunt both died from breast cancer. The both of them held the family together. It was one of those things where, when they got sick, we werenít sure how things in the family would work out. We didnít know if things would get worse or if it would pull us together. Fortunately, it pulled us together.

My grandmother passed away first when I was in high school, about 15 years old. Sheíd been sick for a while and I got the news during an individual workout that she didnít make it. I struggled with that for a very long time. She raised me. We were really, really close. I struggled, but it made me stronger at the same time.

My aunt passed away my sophomore year of college, about four years after my grandmother passed away. She had been sick since my sophomore year of high school. So right when my grandmother passed away, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout the entire process I think she did a pretty good job of dealing with it. She was still working when she could and spending time with the family. But towards the end of my freshman year of college things just kind of went down hill. She couldnít really eat, control any of her bodily functions and she was just really sick. The doctor told her she should just stay in bed. During the NCAA Tournament I got the phone call that she didnít make it.


BHA Week
In both instances I was away playing basketball, which made it really hard to deal with because I felt like I wasnít there for them or my family.

Over the years Iíve developed a greater awareness of the disease. I get checked at least twice a year and I encourage people to have themselves and family members checked out. The biggest part for me was losing two very close relatives. Checking up on your family members is important. I had some family members who had no idea what was going on. So not only should you check yourself and have your family members checked, but know whatís going on with them when they do get checked.

I have a breast cancer ribbon on my wrist in honor of my grandmother. When I see that I just remember all the things sheís taught me and all the good times we had.