2007 Pink Power Mom Stories
Children: Olivia, Alexandra, Cody
Eliza was diagnosed with breast cancer on the second birthday of her twins. She underwent chemotherapy followed by surgery and radiation. Although she suffered severe allergic side effects to the medication, Eliza responded extremely well to chemotherapy.
Eliza’s fight showed her an internal strength she never knew she had. She learned that keeping a positive attitude can take you far in life, and that it pays to ask for help when you need it most. Eliza’s three children and husband kept her fighting, and she found additional inspiration in her fellow survivors. No matter the obstacles, her greatest comfort comes in knowing that there are others who understand her struggles.
Lehigh Acres, FL
Children: Adah-Chresean, Phillip-Clarke
Ouida was pregnant with her second child when she learned she had breast cancer. Her husband was fighting in Iraq while she was undergoing treatment and taking care of both her one year old and her newborn child.
Since being diagnosed, Ouida has participated in “Relay for Life” and “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,” both sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Through her hardships, she has always followed her motto: “If God brought you to it, he’ll bring you through it.” Ouida’s inspiration is her two children who push her to fly outside of her comfort zone. They remind her daily that failure is simply an opportunity to try again.
Children: Alexandra, Ryan
In 2003, Kerry was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer with lymph node involvement. She underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a dozen cancer related surgeries. During her treatment, Kerry established KERRYKARES, INC., a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that provides “Hope Gift Baskets” to cancer patients and their families. As of July 2007, KERRYKARES, INC. has made 75 local delivers and continues to receive referrals. Through her fight, Kerry has learned that she can overcome any obstacle in life by persevering and never giving up. The love and support of her two children, husband and dog keeps her fighting.
Children: Brittany, Kenny
Cathy first discovered a lump while performing her monthly self breast exam in 1997. She eventually had a mastectomy with reconstructive surgery followed by aggressive chemotherapy. Instead of watching her hair fall out, she let her children shave her head.
Cathy was the Chairman of “Relay for Life” for Fayette County in both 2005 and 2006. She also participates in the Susan G. Komen Walk and co-founded “Bikers Riding for Awareness,” a group of breast cancer survivors who ride motorcycles to high schools teaching Junior and Senior girls how to perform self breast exams.
Through her experience, Cathy learned that she can laugh at herself and allow others to laugh at her. She hopes that her children have learned that everything happens for a reason, good or bad, and these lessons can be taken and used to help others.
Children: Sarah Kate
Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer exactly one month after finding out she was pregnant with her first child. Suddenly, her decisions about baby furniture, bedding and maternity clothes were overshadowed by doctors, surgery and chemotherapy.
A week after her diagnosis, Mary had a mastectomy, then waited until the second trimester of her pregnancy to begin chemotherapy. After 4 rounds of chemo over a three month period, she gave birth to a little girl with a full head of hair—even though her mom had none.
Mary has served on the Komen Charlotte Board of Directors, and also serves as a Volunteer Support Woman for the Pregnant with Cancer Network. Through this experience, she has gained an unyielding strength that has allowed her to serve as a mentor to other women fighting the disease.
Children: Ben, Max
Deb was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32. She vowed that cancer would not keep her from enjoying her life and family. She endured chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and five years of Tamoxifen. After her diagnosis, Deb took notice of the lack of local resources available to women such as herself, prompting her to start her own support group called “Breast Friends.” This support group secured a Susan G. Komen grant to educate college students and newly-diagnosed women in low-income neighborhoods about breast cancer.
Deb has learned that something positive can stem from even the worst situations. She has used this experience to teach her sons how important it is to always give back by working for a cause. Through her fight, Deb gained strength from her mother, who was always there for her.
Children: Laura, John
At age 39, Sonia was a happy mother of two. She had no family history of cancer or any risk factors. After her diagnosis, Sonia underwent numerous surgeries, including a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Two years after her diagnosis, her eight year old son was diagnosed with a cancerous Wilms tumor and went through nearly a year of treatment. Shortly after her son was well, Sonia’s breast cancer returned and she underwent another round of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
Sonia is now in remission. She currently serves as a public speaker, sharing messages of hope by talking to various groups about overcoming cancer. She also has an 18 x 14 foot “Shades of Pink” survivor’s ribbon planted in her yard with was featured on the Romeo, Michigan Garden Walk.
Children: Alexandra, Savannah
Sandra’s fight with breast cancer began before she knew it was happening. She had an ultrasound and biopsy on a cyst she had noticed; both came back negative. As the cyst continued to grow, persistent Sandra requested an additional ultrasound and received another negative diagnosis. She asked to have a lumpectomy, which revealed two cancerous masses and a Stage II diagnosis with ductile carcinoma. Sandra underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and two years of tamoxifin.
Sandra served as the chairman of a fundraising gala for Project HER, a navigator program guiding women through the many challenges of cancer. She and her family run the “Race for the Cure” every year. Through her fight, she learned the importance of speaking up for yourself and being your own best advocate.