There’s a lot to be said for reading someone’s story. Whether it is written in their own words or told by someone else, you can feel the inner strength they’ve gained from their struggles. Read a few inspirational, personal, or survival stories. We promise, you won’t go away unmoved
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Alex Zaveral
2018 Pink Tie Guy Alex Zaveral and his wife, Julie, were recently engaged in May 2004 when Julie found a lump in her breast. She was 30 years old. Not too concerned about her finding, Julie went on vacation with Alex, and she made an appointment with her doctor for June First. Like many newly-engaged women, Julie was wrapped up in wedding planning. After securing their wedding ceremony venue, Julie wanted to cancel her appointment.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Ben Harrison
Pink Tie Guy Ben Harrison is a working husband and dad who strives to make his young family’s life as happy, normal, and comfortable as possible. That’s what most men want for their families, but Ben’s family is different than most. His wife Avery, who is in her early 40s, lives with metastatic breast cancer.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Brandon Linn
Life is not a cake walk when you have children who are 14, 12, and 9 years old. There’s homework, extracurricular schedules, and, of course, the hormones. Not to mention parents have their own work and social calendars. Life’s hard sometimes.
Now imagine having to tell those kids “mom has breast cancer.”
Brandon and Lisa Linn had to figure out how to share that news with their kids, in 2017.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Dustin Whistler
2018 Pink Tie Guy Dustin Whistler met his wife, Tamra Ward, about a year-and-a-half after Tamra had completed her breast cancer treatment, so he is quick to point out there are a host of people who helped her through the tough part of cancer.
But sometimes one of the toughest parts of breast cancer happens when treatment ends. There are follow-up appointments, tests, and scans to monitor whether the cancer has returned. Anticipating the “all clear” can weigh just as heavily on a spirit as being in the throes of treatment.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Frank Romer
2018 Pink Tie Guy Frank Romer is best known for getting his employer, Allstate Insurance, involved with Susan G. Komen® Colorado. For the past decade, Allstate has been a proud sponsor of Komen Colorado’s Race for the Cure and Pink Tie Affair.
Most stories like this one begin somewhere, and, for Frank, it wasn’t in an office building.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Jake Zwerdlinger
Jake Zwerdlinger’s 2018 Pink Tie Guy story is one of prevention. A story that began when his sister Molly decided she would get tested to see if she had a BRCA genetic mutation that greatly increases her chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer.
The Zwerdlinger siblings new their paternal grandmother was a breast cancer survivor, but they didn’t know much beyond that.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Paul Weissman
Like most Pink Tie Guys, former State Representative Paul Weissman, now Boulder County treasurer, never expected to be a 2018 Pink Tie Guy. While being a Pink Tie Guy is an honor, it’s a title that often is draped in loss and sadness.
Paul lost his sister, Ruth Schrichte, to breast cancer. At the time, her daughters were still in school. While no family deserves to lose a loved one to this disease, the loss seems more severe when children are involved.
Before Ruth died, she made sure her girls would be cared for, and Paul would be the one to manage their affairs.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Rodney Heiden
For nearly 10 years, Rodney Heiden, of Greeley, has provided the Komen® Colorado Race for the Cure® pace car. It’s not just any car, though. It’s his sister’s 2008 limited-edition Warriors in Pink Ford Mustang.
2018 Pink Tie Guy: Steve Staeger
For 2018 Pink Tie Guy Steve Staeger, breast cancer was always a cause he cared about, but it wasn’t an issue to which he could relate.
“I’ve known so many people who have struggled with it,” he told Susan G. Komen® Colorado. “People I’ve talked to in my life and my career, when you talk to them, you feel distant to it because it hadn’t happened to you.”
Then Steve’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It hit super close to home,” he said.
I am not much of a writer but I wanted to share my story as I find there are not a ton of younger women that have written about their experience with breast cancer. I am 26 years old and found a lump in my breast last year around September.
Amy Wedow: Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer
Amy Wedow’s metastatic breast cancer journey began in March 2013 with a grain of sand. At least that’s how her husband described the lump he found in her breast.
Amy, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, was vigilant about getting her annual mammograms and seeing her oncologist for regular checkups. But that granular lump, which felt like it was just under Amy’s skin, initially was missed by her doctor.
Avery Harrison: A Day in the Life of a Mom with MBC
Moms generally cling to the precious moments they have with their children. For mothers living with metastatic breast cancer, those moments are more fleeting and treasured. Susan G. Komen® Colorado conducted an interview with Avery Harrison via email. Avery, who lives with MBC, finds it easier these days to type out her thoughts. She shares this look into her daily life as a mom living with stage IV breast cancer.
My diagnosis was Stage IIIC Breast Cancer with Lymphoma. Lil’ punk ass started in the left boob and went to my lymph nodes. So, that’s why it’s been kicked up to Stage 3.
Colorado Researcher Receives Komen Grant to Study Breast Cancer
A researcher at the Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine at Anschutz Medical Campus will receive a grant from Dallas-based Susan G. Komen to support her research focusing on obesity and breast cancer.
In March 2014 I went in for an annual mammogram. At that time they found some calcifications so in April I had a biopsy done to remove the calcifications. When they did they found some cells that the results were not what they expected. In May 2014 my surgeon suggested I have the tissue removed because I had a 1 in 10 chance that it could be cancer.
My husband was stationed in Belgrade with the United Nations at the time, and our daughter was 3. I was essentially a single parent who took care of everything.
When I woke up the morning of April 10, 1998 it felt like I must’ve slept on a button or my daughter left a small toy on the bed. The feeling was on my right breast. Got up felt around and discovered a lump. Hmmmmm.
Deaf Snowshoers Find Strength in Each Other and Offer Encouragement to Fellow Participants
It’s been said people have the ability to do more than they think it can, especially when they have no other option. This is the mantra many breast cancer patients choose as they tackle the disease. At this year’s Susan G. Komen® Colorado Snowshoe for the Cure, a group of deaf breast cancer survivors and co-survivors show the resilience of the human body and spirit.
I was diagnosed at my very first mammogram when I was 40. With no history of breast cancer in m family I was shocked. My cancer was not a lump, it was smaller than a grain of salt and could not be detected by exams, only by the mammo. I’m so fortunate that it was caught early. Early detection really is key to treatment options.
Early Detection and Effective Treatment Improves U.S. Breast Cancer Mortality Rate
With earlier detection and more effective treatments, U.S. breast cancer mortality rates declined by 39 percent from 1989 to 2015. This is an improvement of the 38 percent decline in mortality rate from 1989 to 2014.
Mahatma Gandhi once said – “be the change you want to see in the world.” This aphorism took on a whole new meaning when I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago at just 27 years old. Forced to grow up faster than the average 27 year old, I had to make some pretty quick decisions that I knew would impact me for the rest of my life.
First Drug Approved to Treat BRCA-Mutated Metastatic Breast Cancer
In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Lynparza to treat metastatic breast cancer patients whose tumors have a specific inherited genetic mutation.
In 1999 I had very heavy dense Breasts. They where getting heavier and changing. My doctor and I decided that for the sake of my back and my breast health that I should have a breast reduction. So in November 1999 I had a breast reduction. In the pathology of the breast they found cancer very low and deep to my chest wall. It was not a lump and if I had not had the reduction I believe it would have spread before they would have seen it on a mammogram.
I was not diagnosed with breast cancer. I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer called Small Cell Neuroendocrine. I was diagnosed the day after my 4th daughter was born. She is the reason I am here to tell my story.
In January of 2004 I was contemplating a breast reduction. All my life I have always had large breasts, I had just turned 35 and decided it was time. I interviewed several plastic surgeons, and finally in late February found one I liked, we had agreed to take my triple D size breasts to a C cup. So for several months I saved money and waited to hear from insurance finally in May insurance approved the surgery and I had saved enough for the out-of-pocket portion.
Friday the 19th of Sept, 2008, during my annual mammogram, the person taking my pictures saw a lump. Right away, and thank God he was there that day, she asked the doctor to come take a look. They asked me to come back later that day, without a word of why. You can imagine the fear going through my mind.
Komen Colorado CEO Speaks Out Against Non-Medical Switching
Susan G. Komen® Colorado CEO Dianne Primavera’s guest commentary “Stop Non-Medical Switching Now” recently appeared in the Broomfield Enterprise and Colorado Politics.
Komen Colorado Visits KOSI For Public Affairs Talk Show
Komen Colorado CEO Dianne Primavera and program manager Mary Coleman recently took to the airwaves to discuss some important breast health care issues. Primavera and Coleman joined KOSI 101.1 personality Murphy Huston for the half-hour discussion.
Just weeks before my 27th birthday I was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine MRI. I was BRCA 2 positive and was simply being monitored closely. Being well aware of my family history I thought it would be best to be cautious. I could have never suspected that the very first MRI would reveal that I already had breast cancer in my left breast.
I was diagnosed on 1/22/2016, I’ll never forget the day I thought my life was over. I am 37 year old mother of 5 ages 19 to 3. I have 4 children home with me, 1 is incarcerated and family is 1200 miles away. I thought having a troubled child was the toughest thing to face, that was until my diagnosis.
I have never been diagnosed by breast cancer, but I am here to tell the story of a little girl and her battle with her mom’s breast cancer. That was me. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was about 4 years old.
Lisa Linn: Fighting Breast Cancer as a Mom
This Mother’s Day will be a special one for Lisa Linn and her family. It will be her first Mother’s Day as a breast cancer survivor. Last May, Linn was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. It was aggressive, and doctors told her she needed to act fast.
I remember the day like it was yesterday…. On November 5th 2013, I felt a lump in my breast and called my doctor who had told me to come in for an appointment because she knew my mom is a breast cancer survivor. That next day I went in and she had felt the lump as well, she was able to get me in for a mammogram and ultrasound, which confirmed I had a mass.
Melissa Turner: One test. Three genetic markers. A family gets answers.
It was a new millennium. Science and technology were exploding. Screening for the BRCA 1/2 mutation was in its infancy. Melissa Turner, then 43 years old, wanted to be tested to see if she had the BRCA 1/2 mutation, but it largely was not covered by insurance companies, and it was a costly out-of-pocket expense. Nevertheless, Melissa knew she had to find a way.
Michelle Segura: A Story of Survival
Michelle Segura began to support Susan G. Komen® Colorado in the Denver Race for the Cure® in 2004, the year her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Segura has most of the picture buttons she and her mom have taken throughout the years at Race. The buttons serve as a timeline of sorts of Segura’s family life and health.
Molly Zwerdlinger: Planning for the Future with BRCA2
In Molly Zwerdlinger’s words, “Cancer runs rampant in [her] family.” Her aunt passed away from ovarian cancer at age 34 leaving behind two young children.
“Which has always stuck with me,” Zwerdlinger says. “A young child should not have to live without their mother.”
It was her aunt’s death that prompted her to get tested for the BRCA mutation.
“Based on the fear of dying from cancer at a young age, I decided to get tested,” she says.
At age 27, Zwerdlinger, of Denver, found out she inherited the BRCA2 genetic mutation.
In February of 2013 I turned 60 years old, I figured that my life has been good to me and I’ve lived a good life. But then at the end of August, 2013 I was having pain under my right arm and I could feel a lump I let it go for two weeks and then I couldn’t stand the pain anymore.
Research Spotlight: Is More Surgery Better?
There are troves of scientists, researchers and clinicians that dedicate their careers to the pursuit of finding better treatments and cures for cancer. Dr. Monica Morrow, a 2016 Brinker Awardee, joined the ranks of an esteemed group of scientists who have been recognized for advancing breast cancer research and medicine with the Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction – the highest scientific honor awarded by Komen. Learn how Dr. Morrow proved she is More Than Pink™.
In a recent interview, Dr. Morrow was asked about how her research could help individuals facing breast cancer today and in years to come.
Rochelle McKenzie: Facing cancer without health insurance
Rochelle McKenzie wasn’t sure how she was going to pay for her cancer treatments last year. A single mom who sold skin care products, Rochelle didn’t have health insurance. Times were tight. And she certainly hadn’t counted on hearing she had an aggressive form of breast cancer – not at age 30.
Shari Lynch: It Could Happen to You
Shari Lynch didn’t think breast cancer would happen to her. But it did nine years ago. Lynch, who benefited from a Komen® Colorado treatment grant, is doing well today. She recently shared her story with us, and she urges other women to know their bodies and get their mammograms.
Sheila Niemeier: Celebrating 30 Years of Survivorship
For the past seven or eight years, Sheila Niemeier, along with some family and friends, straps on her snowshoes for Komen Colorado’s Snowshoe for the Cure held at the Frisco Nordic Center in Frisco.
While doing my routine home breast exam, I noticed a lump in my left breast. Just 7 months prior, I had a mammogram. Therefore, I did not give much thought to the lump. Soon, the lump became painful. I scheduled a doctor appointment. My doctor did another mammogram. The mammogram revealed not 1, but 2 lumps.
Susan Walter: Finding Heart and Hope at Event
Komen Colorado recently talked with Snowshoe for the Cure participant Susan Walter. Walter, who spoke with us from her home in Tennessee, is a Snowshoe top fundraiser.
My personal journey started in March when I started noticing some differences in my breast when I looked in the mirror. Being a retired nurse and x-ray tech, I knew the importance of self breast exams, mammograms and noticing changes in the breast. When the change became very noticeable, I contacted my primary care physician right away and within three days I had an ultrasound, biopsy and diagnosis.