National Cancer Survivors Day® is a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community. The 6th Annual Butterfly 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Survivors Walk presented by Baptist Health will be virtual this year and should be completed by June 30th. The 5K run/walk was created by the Pink Ribbon Symposium and is a sanctioned National Cancer Survivors Day event. One of our local survivors, Kerri Henderson shares her story.
I never really considered myself a survivor. As strange as it sounds, I never felt like I was sick enough or really had a battle like many have. But aren’t we all survivors in some way? Haven’t we all survived something and if we have hopefully are better because of it? Today, like everyday I celebrate life. But today, I celebrate it a little more. It’s a little more special as I celebrate two huge milestones…. Leaving oncology and transferring to Mayo’s Survivors Clinic and graduating Cardiac Rehab. 4 years after my breast cancer diagnosis, I learned I had over a 90% blockage of my main artery to my heart and ended up with two stents. Apparently, a damage caused by radiation treatment. Never did I think I would find myself at 50 years old ending up on the good side of breast cancer and surviving coronary artery disease.
1 out of 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and only 10% have a family history and heart disease is the number one killer among women. I did not have a family history. Am I a lucky girl or what? Many would say I would be lucky if I never contracted these diseases. But I guess it depends what way you look at it. On September 10th 2014 my life was change forever. What I didn’t realize then that I do now is that in some strange way it changed for the better. Fortunately, we caught both my breast cancer and heart disease and they were both treatable. Our son was grown and off at college, I had flexibility with my job so a cancer and later heart disease diagnosis would not financially paralyze our family. Unfortunately, many women are not in the same situation.
Over the last 5 years I’ve spent dealing with both, I met a tremendous amount of women that have shared their struggles while battling these dreaded diseases. Many have had young children to care for, had to quit their jobs or lacked the support of family and friends. Which is why we started “Hope Floats” with the help of a group of fantastic friends, four which are survivors of breast cancer (one unfortunately, we lost this year). We have raised close to $75,000 in the past 3 years.
Hope Floats raises funds to benefit the Donna Foundation. 100% of the money we raise is through individual donations, corporate sponsors and events. These funds are used to serve women and men currently battling breast cancer and their families that are in critical need via the Donna Foundation. But this is just part of what Hope Floats mission is. We do so much more. We support other awesome organizations like Pink Ribbon in their mission to spread awareness and educate the community in hopes that breast cancer is eradicated once and for all. So we can all celebrate life!!!!