2008 Pink Power Mom Stories
Amy Paterson was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2006 at the age of 34. Her son was two and a half years old at the time. Two weeks later, her only sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer. After diagnosis, she took a medical leave from her job as a vice president with Portland, Oregon based LANE PR to spend time with her family and to complete three months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery, six weeks of radiation and physical therapy. She then participated in a year long strength training exercise research study for breast cancer survivors funded by the American Cancer Society.
As a result of her experience, she and friend Melissa Moore started My Little Waiting Room to bring drop-in child care to hospitals so that families can get the medical care they need when they need it. Their vision is to create a safe place in hospitals so that children can be near their families while their family members receive medical care. Amy was named an Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund award winner in January, 2007.
Children: Kathryn, Emily, Megan, Eliza
Foster niece: Asylnn
Heather was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in May of 2008. Her tremendous support was her personal network and church family. She's the mother of 4 daughters and they were her primary motivation for her life's work. She also published and edited a literary magazine for mothers called Get Born: the uncensored voice of motherhood where mothers and their allies have a forum to celebrate the messy, nuanced, lifelong process of motherhood.
Sierra Vista, AZ
At the age of 28, when her son was only nine months old, and her husband was deployed to Iraq, Amanda was diagnosed with Stage 3, Grade 3 infiltrating ductal carcinoma. She underwent neoadjuvent chemotherapy followed by bilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection. With the help of her parents, the love from her son, and a positive attitude, she made it through treatments without any issues. On April 1, 2008, fifteen days before her husband was scheduled to come home from Iraq, and five and a half months after her diagnosis, she learned she was cancer free.
Since the time of her diagnosis, she has been on a mission to help eradicate this disease as this is the second time it has affected her family. She and her family raised over $24,000 for the Susan G. Komen 2008 Boston Three Day. She was also the keynote speaker at the Haverhill, MA Relay for Life in June 2008.
Diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 1986 at the age of 37, Kathy LaTour underwent a modified radical mastectomy and chemotherapy. Since her diagnosis of breast cancer, LaTour has been active in the national survivor community, speaking to survivor, medical, and lay audiences from coast to coast. She experienced a second diagnosis of breast cancer resulting in a second mastectomy in fall 2007, putting her in the unique perspective of being both a long-term survivor and a new survivor. She served for four years on the board of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, and helped found Gilda's Club North Texas. She was also instrumental in founding The Bridge Breast Network in Dallas, a unique coalition of breast cancer survivors and area healthcare professionals who are providing diagnosis and treatment to uninsured women who may have breast cancer.
Children: Dave, Halyn
Ellie was diagnosed at the age of 36; she was a single mother of a three year old girl and a 16 year old son. She had just lost 30 pounds and felt she was in the best shape of her life when she found a lump. She had a lumpectomy, twelve rounds of chemotherapy, 36 radiation treatments, two years later she had a mastectomy and tram flap reconstructive surgery. Through it all she never missed a school function or a family get-together and was given a much "clearer" vision of life.
She treasures her children and her time more and no longer "sweats the small stuff." At 40 years old, Ellie found the love of her life. She now sees the silver lining in every cloud, the glass is always half full, and she will never have a bad hair day again!
Children: Jake, Zack, Samantha
Julie is the Executive Director of The Ellie Fund, a non-profit organization that runs an innovative “Care for the Caregiver” program, which provides transportation to medical appointments, childcare, housekeeping, groceries and meals free of charge for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer in Massachusetts and their families..
Julie has been volunteering for The Ellie Fund for 13 years. When Julie joined The Ellie Fund in 2005 as its first full-time director, the budget was $45,000. With hard work and dedication, The Ellie Fund is now raising $400,000 and serving more than 500 families annually. The program has become well known across Massachusetts for its wonderful Patient Service Coordinators, personalized approach to caregiving, and wise use of donated funds and resources.
Children: Jaya, Nikhil, Kieran, Sejal
Medha is a two-time long-term survivor of breast cancer who was first diagnosed with ductal carcimona in situ in 1993, at age 27. Her second diagnosis of early stage invasive ductal carcinoma was 13 years later in 2005, shortly after the birth of her fourth child.
In 2005, she began volunteering with the Columbus Chapter of the Young Survival Coalition, the only national organization devoted solely to the needs of young women affected by breast cancer. She currently serves on their Board as Programming Co-Chair. Medha is thankful for the love and support of her family, friends, and her husband, Gary, who has been her "pillar of strength" through it all. Her inspiration continues to be her four beautiful children.
Fort Lewis, WA
Children: Shep, Grady, Fin
Jodi Petit was diagnosed with Stage IIA breast cancer when she was 35 years old. At the time of diagnosis and during treatment, her Green Beret husband was serving in Iraq. Her amazing extended family took care of Jodi and her three boys while Brian was deployed.
Jodi’s treatment included dose-dense chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation. It was determined that she had the BRACAI genetic mutation for breast and ovarian cancer, thus she had an ovariectomy. Her four biological sisters and a niece followed Jodi’s lead and were tested—three had the genetic variance and elected to have double mastectomies and ovariectomies.
Jodi volunteers with Cub Scouts, her husband’s unit’s Family Readiness Group, and her neighborhood school. Her continuing inspiration is her sister, Karen—a 20 year Stage IV ovarian cancer survivor.