Well folks, I got breast cancer, a cup of coffee, and they cancelled the Avon 39. That is the short version if you don’t feel much like reading.
The extended version is as follows, I was 39 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer (BC). My daughter was eight. I had it really good; family, friends, job, house, everything was fine – until it wasn’t. On May 1, 2013, my gynecologist found my tumor during a routine breast exam. That was the beginning of a mind-blowing journey for my husband and I full of doctor appointments, tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, physical therapy that lasted for over a year. It also was the beginning of the support, laughing, crying, denial, panic, isolation, and finally to the other side and changed forever in more ways than I can count.
I was bald in the height of chemo treatments when I went to get some coffee and my friend Kelly – Catoctin Coffee Kelly (who I didn’t know well at the time) shyly asked what was wrong with me. When I told her about my cancer she asked how old I was … 39. She asked about family history …zero. It took a few minutes but she finally got her jaw off the floor. After that conversation driving home, I realized people don’t REALLY talk about BC. There is a LOT OF PINK – yes. However, people don’t REALLY talk about cancer.
I decided to come completely out of hiding and asked my friend Michelle to host an event with me and tell the local women in Lovettsville our story. I invited ALL of my doctors to answer questions from the public and thus started our “Breast Friends” event in Lovettsville Elementary School. The community rallied around us to support the event by making baked goods, supplying Catoctin coffee, and donating prizes for people that attended. I have been speaking in public with my doctors at “Breast Friends” events ever since. I encourage women to get their 3D mammograms and try to educate the community and coworkers about what BC is really like in an honest, funny, no holds barred kind of way.
On the third anniversary of my doctor finding my tumor I crossed the finish of the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer in Washington DC. 39.9 miles/2 days. In 2018, much to my dismay Avon discontinued this very successful event that I assumed I would walk annually until I couldn’t any more. The Avon 39 is an event that myself and many others would train for through the winter, looking forward to Spring. Much to the satisfaction of my oncologist. Therefore, I wanted like to start something new to help women with BC and give women an excuse to continue to exercise and stay healthy this winter with a focus as well as doing some good for women here at home.
So you see – this all REALLY did start with just a cup of coffee.