Diagnosed with breast cancer at 43 years old, Elaine discusses the importance of support throughout this emotional journey.
My name is Elaine. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 43 years old. I had two children, and my children were 3 and 5 at the time. I got to tell you, it was probably the most devastating news I have ever had. I had never been sick, never had any problems or anything like that, and all of a sudden to get hit like that with it, it was like a bullet out of the blue.
The thing that I found, which was just a tremendous source of strength to me, was first of all my family, who were very, very supportive of me, but also my neighbors and a lot of people who… I would get emails and I get phone calls saying that I had been put on prayer lists, at churches by people that I didn’t even know.
And that, just knowing that people are out there and thinking about you, and take a look at this kind of a venue and see the kind of community strength in the community that comes together to support women who are going through this kind of thing is just absolutely tremendous.
And I had no idea before I had actually been diagnosed. I had no idea that there was a kind of grassroots community that we find just through events like this. So since I was diagnosed I have actually… I was honorary Chair for the Susan G. Komen Foundation here in '95 and then I subsequently joined the Board, and now I actually Chair the Board Development Committee for them.
And again, just trying to get in touch with people who are going through this, telling them that they’re not alone, telling them that this is not a death sentence, but also the outreach and making sure that people realize early detection is the best security they can have.
If you get detected early enough in your diagnosis, then your chances of survival are significantly increased, and that’s basically what we’re trying to do right now.
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