For Susan Barry Roden, who is both a breast-cancer survivor and a golf fan, this year's Masters was especially thrilling.
Golfer Phil Mickelson's loving dedication of his Masters win to his wife, Amy, who was diagnosed 11 months ago with breast cancer, riveted and inspired breast-cancer survivors and their advocates across Long Island. Mickelson, who wore a pink ribbon on his hat as he golfed, was near tears during the awards ceremony Sunday.
"My wife has been through a lot this year," he said, his voice breaking. "It means a lot to share some joy together."
Mickelson has said his wife's prognosis is good.
"By Phil wearing the pink ribbon on his hat, definitely struggling with all the cares and woes in his heart and soul, but still out there plugging away, I think he's just raised the awareness and I think he should be so proud of himself for that," said Roden, who does community outreach for Southampton Hospital's Breast Health Center and plans to walk in the Long Island Two Day Walk to Fight Breast Cancer in June.
Advocates said they appreciated the Mickelsons' openness, which helps raise awareness about the disease, particularly among younger women. Amy Mickelson is 37.
"It lets people know that young women can be diagnosed with breast cancer and can be successfully treated, and that's why early detection is so important," said Hillary Rutter, director of the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program. "When a celebrity comes out with it, it just reinforces the need [for women] to take care of themselves, and that if they are diagnosed they can be treated and live a long life after that."
Even those who are not necessarily golf fans said they were touched by Mickelson's victory.
"I think that's really nice, really special," said Gail Jensen, 55, of Eastport. "Ten years ago . . . people felt like they were going through it all by themselves, so it's very positive when people in the media do come forward. It gives support to the regular people who are going through it."