First, and foremost, we appreciate Pam for sharing her story so that more people become aware of what the journey through breast cancer looks like for the patient. And, in the hopes that, after reading her story, you will encourage someone in your life to get screened. #go4mammo
“When October rolls around many people are reminded it is Breast Cancer Awareness month and, that, they should get checked. However, for some people, like myself, we are reminded daily that this is a lifelong journey. I have battled and beat breast cancer twice, both in 2006 and again in 2013. When you are undergoing treatment, you are just trying to stay alive, counting down the number of treatments left, and you don’t think about much else.
My journey has lead me through multiple surgeries to remove the cancer, radiation twice, chemotherapy, multiple reconstructive surgeries, physical therapy, and a lifetime filled with after effects of skin tightness, muscle cramping, neuropathy in my fingers, and the need to constantly stretch a few muscles. I searched for resolutions to many of these after effects for a few years, but with no resolve. Now, I just accept them and move on with my life as a proud survivor.
Throughout my journey, I never stopped participating in the things I love. I continued to play softball and volleyball, work a fulltime job, have an active social life, and surround myself with family and friends. Occasionally, I needed to alter things here and there, but I never gave up and developed ways to cope.”
Why do you support the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K?
“I support the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K because I was lucky to have great doctors, good insurance, family and friends to help me navigate a course of action, but not everyone has the same luxury. A year past the last battle, I decided to get more involved and help others. I found the clinic that improves access to screening, mammograms, and treatment resources for the underserved women and men of the area.”
What was your first year at the 5K?
“In 2014, I joined the Star 105.5 team as I heard them describe the event on the radio. I thought it was the perfect way to help others. In 2015, I decided to start up my own team consisting of family, friends, and co-workers.”
How has your involvement with it grown?
“I have gone from joining the local radio station team to being the captain of my own team. For the past few years, I have spearheaded a team called Zebra and asked my fellow Zebra employees, contractors, friends, and family to join with me in support of this cause by donating and walking/running in the Care4 Breast Cancer 5K. I have been extremely fortunate to cast a wide net of friends who support me in fundraising as well, which have made me the Top Individual Fundraiser for 2016 and 2017.”
What is the most memorable from the 5Ks you have participated in?
“What I find most memorable is the day of the event. I love to see the number of creative participants and the outfits they wear. I am encouraged by the firefighters running in full uniform as well as the neighborhood cheering on the participants. I am moved by the t-shirts I read as I walk and jog past people.”
Why do you believe people should register and join today?
“I believe people should join the 5K to see how many people have been affected by breast cancer. It is truly amazing how alone you might feel at times during your journey then, when you come to an event like this, you realize you are far from alone.”