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Andrea Mitchell for Make a Difference Day
Andrea Mitchell with Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Amy Klobuchar at the 2011 Congressional Women's Softball Game. / Jeff Malet Photography

From my youngest days, my parents taught us we had an obligation to give back, both as a religious and civic value. I learned from them that there is great joy in service. Other than work and family, connections Iíve made through charitable projects have given me the greatest satisfaction in life. Giving back adds meaning to life.

Ironically, long before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the cause Iíve always been most involved with is breast cancer awareness. Iíve lost a lot of friends over the years, and in my own city of Washington, D.C., the mortality rate from breast cancer is the nationís highest.

Iíve done everything from running in races to doing play-by-play at a charity softball game to helping raise money for the George Washington University ďMammovan,Ē which provides screenings to underserved women.

Youíre never really prepared for it to happen to you, so when I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, it was a shock. But I was one of the fortunate people whose disease was found at Stage 1. My diagnosis only strengthened my commitment to making sure that women have good medical care. Iím mindful of Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan, who did so much to increase awareness. If I can do some good, in a small way, Iíd feel blessed.

On Oct. 27, I urge you to take a few hours to do something for people in your community. Spend time at a hospital or a senior citizens center. Bring the kids. Youíll pass on a tradition of service that will inspire them all their lives.

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