Anne – Bossier City, LA

Anne and Family 375 x 318“I am so lucky that early detection saved my life. When I was diagnosed at the age of 28 I was so overwhelmed and scared. But thankfully, my prognosis was very good, because I caught it so early.

Susan G. Komen has allowed me a platform to share my story as a young survivor, so that I may help other young women in their own journey. I was awarded a small grant to attend a conference to learn about healthy lifestyles for young survivors. Now that I am armed with the knowledge of that experience, plus my own personal journey, my desire is to help and support others going through the same thing.

Recently, I was blessed with the birth of my post-breast cancer baby; a miracle after having gone through chemotherapy and hormonal treatment. Because of this, I feel strongly that young women should receive different kinds of support and counseling after being diagnosed at such a young age. The future is now bright for me, and I want to make sure it is for every other young survivor too!”

Brenda – Shreveport, LA

brenda wimberly cropped“A few years ago, my father was very ill, and I came back home to Shreveport to care for him in his final months. Because I had left my job to be at his bedside, I found myself without health insurance. After he passed away, I knew something wasn’t right. My body was telling me I should get it checked out by a doctor.

That’s when I heard about Partners in Wellness. They are an organization that receives funding from Susan G. Komen Northwest Louisiana.

I was able to receive a mammogram at no cost and sure enough, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately, it was detected early. I went through treatment and am feeling great. As a professional singer, I have found another voice…one that speaks to others about the importance of annual screenings.

One day after completing treatment, I decided I wanted to meet the people at Komen Northwest Louisiana. I walked into the office to thank them and we formed a friendship that is now a part of my breast cancer journey. I am living proof that the money raised here, stays here in the form of community grants to pay for mammograms like the one that saved my life. Of course the money that Komen Northwest Louisiana contributes to research is also so very important to continue the Race for the Cure and end breast cancer forever.”

Suzanne, past Komen NWLA president – Shreveport, LA

Suzanne 300 x 323“When my doctor asked me at 42 years old if I had had a mammogram, I realized that I had not begun these at 40 as is recommended.  Sure there were plenty of reasons why.  She insisted that we get this done and scheduled it for me. Then, there was the news that they needed additional views and ultimately a decision for biopsy that confirmed that I had breast cancer.

I went through a lumpectomy and then radiation treatment, followed by an oral medication that I would then take for the next 5 years.  That is the mechanics of the experience, but what I learned from my breast cancer journey has impacted my life forever!

I learned that all of us have only today, so let’s make it count!  I learned that if I want to do something, I CAN do it!  I learned things like gratitude, sincerity and love cannot be GIVEN enough!  I learned that life is not about perfection!  It’s about beauty and strength and character!  I learned FAITH is sustaining when nothing else is!  Parts of the journey have been frightening, but I have also learned that I would not trade the experiences from my journey for anything! I am celebrating 5 years of survivorship at this year’s Race for the Cure!”

Tina – Shreveport, LA

Tina 168 x 448“My high school health teacher told us that we should always check our arm pits as part of a monthly breast self-awareness. I am forever grateful to this lady for telling me this!

On August 9, 2002, at the age of 33, I had a lump removed from under my arm. A frozen section was done and when I woke up following the biopsy, I learned I had cancer! It was a rare, aggressive, sneaky cancer that could not be seen on mammograms and ultrasounds but had already spread to 16 of my lymph nodes.

I met with my oncologist to get a plan. I asked him to be honest and blunt about my prognosis. I heard the words, “it is not LIKELY, but POSSIBLE, that you will beat this”. With a teenager and a three year old at home depending on me, I told him to “hit me with everything you got!”. And, he did! After a poisonous concoction of three different chemo drugs and then 35 radiation treatments I was done. My PET scan was clear. Thank you Jesus!

I lost my hair, my breasts, and my husband shortly thereafter, but what I GAINED was a new lease on life! I learned to give it to God, rely on my awesome family and friends, laugh at myself, and learned that I was passionate about being a mentor to other ladies during their struggle.

I am thankful for Susan G. Komen for giving me hope, as well as a platform to give back and reach out to the community in the Komen NWLA Race for the Cure, Friday in Pink, etc. We are a sisterhood of people who care about each other and are determined to make a difference! We bleed PINK!”

Brenda, RN, CBPN-IC – Benton, LA

brenda pierce 300 x 351“On Feb 8, 1987, my life changed – that is the date I heard those words: “you have breast cancer.”  As a nurse, I had taken care of breast cancer patients, but never did I imagine I myself would be one of those patients – especially not at the age of 35!  My boys were young (ages 9 & 12), so of course my concerns revolved around the fear that I would not be there to raise my babies, see their ball games, go to their graduations, etc.

Well, by the grace of God and the wonderful health care I received, I not only got to raise my babies and go to their graduations and their weddings, I now have 5 beautiful grandchildren to spoil!

As both a nurse and a 28 year breast cancer survivor, I cannot stress enough the importance of not only annual mammograms, but also breast self-awareness.  Being only 35 years old when I was diagnosed, I wasn’t even getting mammograms yet.  I found my lump myself and went to my physician.  Had I waited, it would have been 5 more years before I would meet the guidelines for my first mammogram! So Ladies, I plead with you to utilize all 3 pieces of the early breast cancer detection puzzle: breast self-awareness, annual clinical breast exams by your health care provider and annual mammograms.”