Profession: Restaurant Owner/ Operator
Type of Breast Cancer: Multicentric Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma
Number of years as a survivor: 12 years
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Race participant; Previous Komen Grantee
Although the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment transformed 2005 into the worst year of my life, it has led to one of the best and most important times of my life. Breast cancer has taught me how truly blessed I am. My journey taught me how strong I am and how best to use my God given talents and tenacity to help breast cancer survivors and co-survivors around the world.
After my diagnosis of Multicentric Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma, which resulted in a double mastectomy and six rounds of chemo, I found myself lost. I hated my body for betraying me. I didn’t see where I was going to fit into the world. Fortunately, in 2006 I was introduced to breast cancer dragon boating. From the very beginning, I knew I had found a path and purpose. What I didn’t realize was that my natural born leadership skills would have me take dragon boating to a level I could not even imagine. This is how I found my Warrior Face.
As the founding captain and president of Save Our Sisters (SOS), I have lead our team to many victories, in and out of the boat. I take the most pride in our new team development. SOS has helped develop breast cancer dragon boat teams not only in Florida, but in needy countries outside of the USA, where women sometimes do not have access to medical services and support. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a newcomer’s family, comes to me and illustrates the huge difference the dragon boat team has made in the survivor’s life. Survivor are happier, healthier and stronger; but more than that, our program helps the whole family. The co-survivors see their loved one coming out of the dark days of treatment and stepping strong into the future. The SOS program focuses on helping the individual mentally and emotionally. Beating breast cancer is a matter of jointly healing the patient’s mind, body, and spirit!
As a grantee for many years, Susan G. Komen Miami/ Ft Lauderdale helped our program get off the ground and further reach women in the South Florida community; specially the underserved and underinsured. I thank Komen for their years of support of the team. We look forward to helping even more women in the future. Our hope is that women everywhere will see SOS and remember to get their annual mammograms and practice breast self-awareness exams.
Through organizations, like Susan G. Komen Miami/ Ft Lauderdale, I have participated in hundreds of breast cancer events with my SOS team. Walks, races and parades, showing women throughout the world that there is hope. Not only will you get through the cancer journey, but come out on the other side a more purposeful, powerful person. I like to say that the doctors may save our lives, but it is with service, in my case dragon boating, that saved my spirit!