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Events

“Sisterhood” of Breast Cancer

Gabbi : September 7, 2016 6:27 pm : Events, Young Cancer Survivors

People say that being diagnosed with breast cancer is like joining a sisterhood of survivors. For twin sisters, Joan Jolly and Jean Foss, going through breast cancer together as sisters, just seemed natural. “We always shared everything,” said Joan. “It just seems inevitable that we would go through cancer together too.”

Jean (Left) and twin sister Joan (right) pictured with their cousin.

Jean (Left) and twin sister Joan (right) pictured with their cousin.


In early 2016, Joan was having a routine mammogram that ended up being anything but routine. Following the mammogram she had a lumpectomy, which resulted in later having a double mastectomy when it was discovered that her entire breast had cancer in it.

 

A month later her twin sister Jean felt a lump in her breast. Jean was nervous but thankful she already had a resource for information. “It was scary at first. Could this really happen to both of us at the same time?” Jean reflected. “But it was also a tremendous relief…not relief…but such a support for me. I wasn’t as frightened because I wasn’t alone.” Jean credits Joan’s experience with saving her life. Jean opted to have a double mastectomy right away. When her breast tissue was tested, they found that there was a second, early stage, more aggressive cancer in the breast that they hadn’t noticed in diagnostic testing. “It could have turned out so much worse,” Jean said.

Joan (L) with twin sister Jean (R) are going through breast cancer together.

Joan (L) with twin sister Jean (R) are going through breast cancer together.

Once they were diagnosed, they continued to help each other. Joan had been referred to the Beyond Pink TEAM by her doctor, to help her with medical expenses that her insurance didn’t cover. She also applied for help with her utilities as she was the only income in her household. “It was such a blessing,” said Joan. “My husband can’t work, and mine is the only paycheck. Being off work…we could have lost everything.”

Joan knew that her twin sister would also be off work and suggested she look into the Beyond Pink TEAM as well. Jean knew she would need help with her rent. Her landlord was her sister Joan, who was not in a position to be without rent money. “It was such a godsend. To know that I could get assistance, which in turn would help my sister, it was such a relief,” said Jean.

 

People like Joan and Jean are the reason that over 800 participants signed up for the Pink Ribbon Run 5K last year, and why the committee is hoping even more will participate this year. Due to the large turnout in 2015, the Pink Ribbon Run committee donated over $49,000 to the Beyond Pink TEAM. It was the largest donation to the Beyond Pink TEAM in the 9 years of the Pink Ribbon Run.

The committee has donated over $221,000 to the Beyond Pink TEAM since the race’s inception. All money raised by the Pink Ribbon Run, stays local and helps local families facing a breast cancer diagnosis. In 2015, the Beyond Pink TEAM put that money to work by awarding 79 grants to women in nine counties, with support that totaled over $63,000.

The 10th Annual Pink Ribbon Run is presented by Oakridge Realtors and University of Iowa Community Credit Union for the second year in row. The support of sponsors this year means ALL race registration funds go directly to helping other people. The committee has covered all expenses thanks to sponsorships. Also returning for a second year, the committee is thankful for Community Auto as the Survivor Sponsor. As part of this sponsorship Community Auto will cover the registration fee for any breast cancer survivor who participates in the Pink Ribbon Run.

Money from the Pink Ribbon Run is put into a fund at the Northeast Iowa Community Foundation. The Beyond Pink Fund, as it is named, began awarding grants in 2008. Grants are given to women or men facing a breast cancer diagnosis who are in need of assistance in Black Hawk County and surrounding counties. The assistance can be used for groceries, gas money, utility expenses, medical costs, etc.

Along with being a great route to run or walk, there will be special recognition for breast cancer survivors before the race begins, and also during the program afterward.  Registration for the Pink Ribbon Run is $30 until September 12; $35 after September 12. There is no Tshirt guarantee for registrations after September 12. The race will begin at 8 am, and afterward there will be light refreshments sponsored by Martin Brothers, race awards and door prizes!!

Online registration is available by going to the Beyond Pink TEAM website at www.beyondpinkteam.org . The Pink Ribbon Run is organized by a committee of volunteers from the community. All funds raised are donated to the Beyond Pink TEAM.  To become a sponsor or to have a registration form mailed to you call Community Main Street office at 319-277-0213.

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Never Give Up.

Gabbi : August 19, 2016 9:21 pm : Events, Young Cancer Survivors

I was 34 years old when I was diagnosed. My kids were ages 1, 4, 6 and 9.  My daughter Roni had turned 1 in November, and I was just finishing up breast feeding in December or January. In February, I found a lump by accident. I thought nothing of it. I just thought I was still drying up from nursing, but I decided to have my doctor take a look at it just in case. My doctor suggested I get an ultrasound. The ultrasound doctor said it was not filled with fluid but it was a mass and suggested I go to a surgeon.

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Marina and her youngest daughter, Roni at the 9th Annual Pink Ribbon Run.

I literally had no idea what anything meant because no one gets cancer at 34….right? I was oblivious. But I just went from one appointment to the next. Nothing really hit me until the oncologist (literally the cancer doctor) told me I was going to get chemo. I said to her, “Ummm…I’m just here for radiation.” As it turned out, I wasn’t just there for radiation. Over the next 12 months, I was scheduled for a surgery to implant a port for the chemo, then endured 6 rounds of chemo and 32 radiation treatments. My breast cancer was Stage 2. One standard test during cancer treatment is a bone scan. My bone scan showed several tumors throughout my body, so they started to check for bone cancer. They were looking for Stage 4 bone cancer…that was very scary. They did hideous bone biopsies but thankfully they turned out to be benign tumors.

 

I write about this, not to bore you with my medical history, but to give you a general feel for where my head was at during that time. It also speaks to how I feel about the Pink Ribbon Run. Through the first six months, I never thought a thing about my cancer. I kept saying I was totally fine. I was just thankful my kids didn’t have cancer. I was in complete denial. So, I completed four rounds of chemo, worked 40 hours per week and raised four kids, like everything was totally normal. I was so sick and really tired.  After I completed four rounds of chemo and all the radiation treatments, I was supposed to go to back for two more rounds of chemo, Taxol. I had heard that Taxol was the worst. My hair was just starting to grow back. I was feeling normal, rocking my short hair; I had even stopped wearing a bandana.  I was preparing to go in for my weekly doctor appointment with the oncologist and I was feeling strong. Super confident. I had convinced myself that I did not need to finish my treatments, I was still “fine” and I was going to tell her I wasn’t going to do it.  I prayed, out loud, all the way to the doctor appointment. It was a super strong conversation with God, praying for strength and guidance to get through this appointment, a “help me through this” kind of prayer. It was a good conversation. I walked into the office, confident and strong, ready to go. I sat in the waiting room of her office…..it was also the waiting room for the “chemo room.”

 

This is the turning point in my story. A woman came out of the chemo room and sat down right next to me and started a conversation with me. I know she was an angel. I can’t tell you word for word what she said to me but she was younger, in her 40’s and she had had a relapse. She was talking to me about fighting and never giving up, and how no matter what you are faced with you have to be strong and know you can do it. I never told her what I was planning to say to my doctor, but every word she said was exactly what I had asked God for…I had wanted to quit, and the message back was: I needed to fight.

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Marina at the 9th Annual Pink Ribbon Run with her biggest supporters.

The woman went back in the chemo room and I just sat there with tears just streaming down my face, I wasn’t crying out loud, just silent tears. I went into my appointment with my doctor and started bawling… a lot. She rubbed my back and called a counselor and set up an appointment for me. She said, with her Indian accent, “You go to counseling, it’s ok.” So, I went to counseling, and it was amazing. But, I never went to a young cancer survivor group. I never had anyone to talk to about what I was going through. I never connected to another person going through what I was going through.  That was 11 years ago.

 

My first Pink Ribbon Run was in 2013. We have gone for the past three years. This is the time of year I celebrate how thankful I am for my life and every year I am so amazed at how happy I am. I cannot believe how many people are in my life now and how thankful I am that I fought through the tough times. The Pink Ribbon Run 5K is very special because I am surrounded by women who have gone through the same thing I have gone through, even though we don’t talk in depth about our stories. It is seriously the first time I have been around survivors. Not reaching out to a survivor group is my biggest regret, I feel like I missed out on a sisterhood of support.

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6th Annual Pink Ribbon Run- the first Survivor photo with the first of the painted signs.

When we are all together for the big picture, sometimes we make funny comments that would only be funny to someone who has had cancer. For example, the year of the spray painted sign someone said, “we survived chemo, a little paint fumes aren’t going to kill us.”  With other survivors it is okay to say cancer. People get so afraid to talk about it, and I get it, no one knows what to say, and certainly does not want to offend or make us feel bad. But it’s nice to be with survivors, to be a little sarcastic and funny. I love the survivor picture, it makes me feel a part of the sisterhood. I feel like I belong to something bigger than cancer. I love my pink shirt that says Survivor, and I love the pink beads, I feel fancy…and special.

survivor group_2

9th Annual Pink Ribbon Run Survivor photo.

At the Pink Ribbon Run, we celebrate our lives and the time we have as a family. The kids and I run together as a family; as a celebration. We all get dressed up in pink, crazy socks, make tutu’s, have fun with it. I love the Memorial signs that are along the course, too. I cry every time I walk by one.   I am thankful every day. I am still here, watching my kids grow, and the first weekend in October is when I remember and celebrate all these things. I will be there every year to celebrate my life and be an inspiration to the women who are still fighting. And to the survivors who are attending their first race? Come join us.

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Advocacy

BEYOND PINK TEAM OFFERS BREAST CANCER ADVOCACY SCHOLARSHIP

Gabbi : January 23, 2014 4:28 pm : Advocacy, All Categories, From the Team
Breast Cancer survivors and advocates are reminded the deadline for submitting an application for the SUE WITWER SCHOLARSHIP  to attend the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocate Leadership Summit in Washington, DC is February 12, 2014.  To honor Susan Witwer, an articulate and effective advocate, Beyond Pink TEAM and the family of Susan Witwer are offering a $1400 scholarship grant to a breast cancer survivor or breast cancer advocate to attend the National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocacy Summit from May 3-6, 2014.
The Summit is geared toward advocates of all experience levels who want to help lead in the breast cancer movement and Breast Cancer Deadline 2020. This extraordinary meeting will offer you ways to:
  • Network with the most highly-committed and motivated group of leaders ever assembled in the world of breast cancer.
  • Interact with scientists, thought leaders, innovators and visionaries in small, intimate groups.
  • Get dynamic world-class, advanced leadership training.
  • Hear about research on prevention and breast cancer metastasis as well as on cutting edge topics in the areas of systems change and health care delivery.
  • Understand the Administration and Congress in preparation for Lobby Day.
  • Learn best practices from other leaders who are implementing their state and individual action plans.
  • Develop NBCC’s grassroots strategic planning for year five of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020.
Questions? Contact Christine.carpenter@cfu.net or 319-266-0194.
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Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 Update

Gabbi : December 3, 2013 4:38 pm : Advocacy, From the Team

Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 Update

Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come and gone, and with it came a change in the conversation. While the press coverage this year included articles about local runs and survivor stories and reminders to get mammograms, there was a noticeable focus on research to prevent breast cancer. The shift in conversation was not confined to the media. In the public policy realm, Congresswoman Shelley Capito delivered a speech from the floor of the House of Representatives imploring her colleagues to support the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act.

On the radio waves during October, Beyond Pink TEAM advocates Lori Seawel and Christine Carpenter talked about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® on KXEL 1540 and on KBBG 88.1 FM, respectively. In social media, Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® advocates were encouraged to make #BCD2020 a trending topic on Twitter.

And the conversation among the scientists is shifting as well. At a recent event of the medical faculty and staff at a major medical institution, National Breast Cancer Coalition, NBCC, president Fran Visco asked why she—a patient advocate—was invited to speak about NBCC and its work, when the usual choice would be to invite a doctor or a researcher. Visco was told the medical community is well aware of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® and not only do they talk about it, the deadline informs their work and they wanted to hear from NBCC what advocates want from the research community.

 

Through the generous support of the National Philanthropic Trust, NBCC also awarded a grant to Dr. Gregory Hannon, Professor and HHMI Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Dr. H. Kim Lyerly, George Barth Gellar Professor of Cancer Research, Duke University School of Medicine. Drs. Hannon and Lyerly will collaborate on efforts to evaluate the biology of human ductal carcimona in situ (DCIS) through sequencing (RNAseq). DCIS is not cancer, yet it is treated as such. Many women with DCIS receive toxic therapy that will not help them, but will cause harm. Addressing the issue of DCIS is part of NBCC’s Artemis Project®. Investigators will use next-generation sequencing to generate profiles from single (DCIS) lesions and will carry out laboratory tests to evaluate signaling and immune responses. Further, the investigators plan to determine whether differences among DCIS lesions relate to different subtypes of invasive breast cancer. Another goal of the research is to analyze the healthy tissue surrounding DCIS lesions, to gain a better understanding of how disease progresses from DCIS to invasive cancer.

To learn more about the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020, the Artemis Project, or the National Breast Cancer Coalition check out breastcancerdeadline2020.org.

 

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From The Team

BEYOND PINK TEAM OFFERS BREAST CANCER ADVOCACY SCHOLARSHIP

Gabbi : January 23, 2014 4:28 pm : Advocacy, All Categories, From the Team
Breast Cancer survivors and advocates are reminded the deadline for submitting an application for the SUE WITWER SCHOLARSHIP  to attend the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocate Leadership Summit in Washington, DC is February 12, 2014.  To honor Susan Witwer, an articulate and effective advocate, Beyond Pink TEAM and the family of Susan Witwer are offering a $1400 scholarship grant to a breast cancer survivor or breast cancer advocate to attend the National Breast Cancer Coalition Advocacy Summit from May 3-6, 2014.
The Summit is geared toward advocates of all experience levels who want to help lead in the breast cancer movement and Breast Cancer Deadline 2020. This extraordinary meeting will offer you ways to:
  • Network with the most highly-committed and motivated group of leaders ever assembled in the world of breast cancer.
  • Interact with scientists, thought leaders, innovators and visionaries in small, intimate groups.
  • Get dynamic world-class, advanced leadership training.
  • Hear about research on prevention and breast cancer metastasis as well as on cutting edge topics in the areas of systems change and health care delivery.
  • Understand the Administration and Congress in preparation for Lobby Day.
  • Learn best practices from other leaders who are implementing their state and individual action plans.
  • Develop NBCC’s grassroots strategic planning for year five of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020.
Questions? Contact Christine.carpenter@cfu.net or 319-266-0194.
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You Have “Survived” Cancer….NOW WHAT?

Gabbi : January 8, 2014 6:21 pm : Events, From the Team, Young Cancer Survivors

When you have “survived” cancer once and come out on the other side, you are vigilant about protecting your
health! This month at the Young Cancer Survivors event we will have a counselor speak about the anxiety that can
come with being a cancer “survivor”. Anxiety for the future, fear of recurrence, these are all real concerns that
someone who has lived with cancer faces on a daily basis.

The Beyond Pink TEAM is hosting its next “Meet, Mingle and Learn” event Tuesday, January 21 from 4:30-7p.m
at the Cedar Valley Unitarian Universalists building, 3912 Cedar Heights Drive, Cedar Falls. Jake Schaefer,
LMHC is a counselor at Cedar Falls Counseling Associates and cancer survivor. He will share his story and lead
discussion among the women living with cancer who attend.
This FREE event is open to all young women living with ANY cancer diagnosis. Activities are planned from 4:30
to 7 p.m., but participants can come and go as their schedules allow. There will be refreshments available courtesy
of Panera Bread Bakery- Café.
The schedule for the evening is:
4:30–5:00 pm Refreshments and table discussions begin
5:00–6:00 pm Table Discussions
6:00–6:45 pm Jake Schaefer, Counselor – “I Survived Cancer! Now What?”
6:45-7:00 pm Wrap up and final questions

For more information about the “Meet, Mingle and Learn” Cancer Survivor Event for young women call Gabbi
DeWitt at 319-292-2225 or Dee Hughes at 319-235-3179; or go to the Beyond Pink TEAM website at
www.cedarvalleybreastcancer.org.
The Beyond Pink TEAM is part of the Cedar Valley Cancer Committee, and is a non-profit organization made
possible by the collaborative efforts of many health organizations, businesses and dedicated individuals’
throughout the Cedar Valley. The Beyond Pink TEAM’s mission is to provide breast cancer prevention,
education, support and advocacy for comprehensive, quality care in the Cedar Valley and surrounding
communities. Going beyond pink ribbons, beyond pink light bulbs, beyond pink trinkets; Beyond Pink, we
accomplish our mission by Taking action, Educating, Advocating and Making a difference.

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Fundraiser

Community Honda Donates to Beyond Pink TEAM

Gabbi : December 17, 2013 4:44 pm : From the Team, Fundraiser

In October, 2013, Community Honda in Cedar Falls donated $50 to the Beyond Pink TEAM for every car sold that month. This ended in a fabulous $2800 donation to the Beyond Pink TEAM.

 

community honda_2013_2Thank you Community Honda for your creative way to give back to the community. We are lucky to have such great support from the local businesses in our area.

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JIVA SALONSPA DONATES TO BEYOND PINK TEAM

Gabbi : December 4, 2013 7:09 pm : From the Team, Fundraiser

2013 jiva_resz

Beyond Pink TEAM member Gabbi DeWitt receives check from the Jiva SalonSpa stylists who raised money during the month of October.

October was national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In honor of everyone affected by Breast Cancer, Jiva Salonspa agreed to donate profits from four services to a local cancer committee, Beyond Pink TEAM.

Jiva Salonspa raised $878.18 throughout the month and partnered with Bradford Companies, who matched up to $500 of profits earned during this event. During the whole month of October, Jiva donated profits from:

  • Botanical Hair Treatment – Moisturizes hair and leaves it feeling smooth also adds shine.
  • Hot Stone Massage– The usage of hot stones works into the muscles to give a more relaxing massage experience.
  • Pink Ribbon Nail Art – A variety of different nail art will be available to add to your mani/pedi.
  • Facial Peel – Actively smooth’s lines and wrinkles, evens skin tone, refines pores to restore youthful radiance.

The Beyond Pink TEAM, the local breast coalition who received the profits from this event, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide breast cancer prevention, education, support, and advocacy for comprehensive, quality care in the Cedar Valley.

“I am thrilled with the result of this fundraiser,” says Shay Caley, Salon Manager.  “All of the money we raised will directly benefit the community where we live and work.”

Call (319) 268-0772 to book your Appointment for Beyond Pink TEAM today.

ABOUT Jiva Salonspa

Jiva Salonspa is an Aveda Lifestyle salon located on Main Street in Cedar Falls. Our mission at Jiva Salonspa is to educate and provide health, balance and style to every guest, every day; while reducing our global footprint. With unstoppable passion, our team delivers a look good, feel good experience from arrival to farewell. We are a full service salon and spa offering everything from a cut and color to massage, waxing and manicure and pedicure.

 

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Splash Of Color

3rd Annual Splash of Color 3K Walk

Gabbi : September 19, 2013 6:17 pm : Advocacy, Fundraiser, Splash of Color

Soc2013_1

Participants line up for the start of the 2012 Splash of Color Walk.

Splash of Color (SoC) will host their 3rd Annual 3K Walk. Please mark your calendars for 7:30 a.m., Saturday, October 12th at Sullivan Park in Waterloo.

The cost of registration is $18 for Adults and $10 for Students. To pre-register contact Cathy Ketton at 319-493-8857, or Doris Saddler at 319-290-1294.  You can download a Registration Form here.

If you would like to be sponsor of the event, your tax deductible donation of $100 or more will get your name on the back of the event Tshirt. There will be a $1 raffle, baked goods and items for purchase at the walk.

There will also be vendors on hand with a variety of healthy living and cancer information.

We encourage you to recruit family, friends, and coworkers to join us on Saturday, October 12th, at 7:30 a.m. at Sullivan Park. This day is a day to celebrate our survivors and remember those who lost their battle with breast cancer.

Your support and participation is very much needed to make this event a success.

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From Diagnosis to Treatment…Then WHAT??

Gabbi : July 30, 2013 5:11 pm : Events, From the Team, Splash of Color

From Diagnosis to Survivor: Then What?

The “Splash of Color” meeting is Thursday, August 8 from 5-7 pm at the Waterloo Public Library, 415 Commercial Street, Waterloo.

This FREE event is open to all women of color living with breast cancer.  Activities are planned from 5 to 7 p.m., but participants can come and go as their schedules allows. Transportation and/or childcare available if  pre-arranged by August 1 by calling 319-493-8857.

Organizer Cathy Ketton will be sharing her story of personal illness. Her goal with her presentation “From Diagnosis to Survivor: Then What?” is to motivate the ladies to move beyond themselves to help others.  “Only a few people knew I have been ill.” Ketton said. “I want to tell my story, my struggle and then share what I plan to do to help others to share their story.”  Ketton says  it is time to reach out and help others. She would like to see the women of Splash of Color get involved in our community and become breast cancer advocates.

The schedule for the evening:

5:00-5:30 pm   Light Dinner & Fellowship

5:30-5:45 pm   Conversation/Support

5:45-6:45 pm   Cathy Ketton – “From Diagnosis to Survivor: Then What?”

6:50-7:00 pm     Wrap Up/Closing

For more information about the “Splash of Color” Breast Cancer Survivor Support Group call Cathy Ketton at 319-493-8857; or go to the Beyond Pink TEAM website at www.cedarvalleybreastcancer.org.

The “Splash of Color” Support Group is sponsored by the Beyond Pink TEAM. The Beyond Pink TEAM is part of the Cedar Valley Cancer Committee, and is a non-profit organization made possible by the collaborative efforts of many health organizations, businesses and dedicated individuals’ throughout the Cedar Valley. The Beyond Pink TEAM’s mission is to provide breast cancer prevention, education, support and advocacy for comprehensive, quality care in the Cedar Valley and surrounding communities. Going beyond pink ribbons, beyond pink light bulbs, beyond pink trinkets; Beyond Pink, we accomplish our mission by Taking action, Educating, Advocating and Making a difference.

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Young Cancer Survivors

“Sisterhood” of Breast Cancer

Gabbi : September 7, 2016 6:27 pm : Events, Young Cancer Survivors

People say that being diagnosed with breast cancer is like joining a sisterhood of survivors. For twin sisters, Joan Jolly and Jean Foss, going through breast cancer together as sisters, just seemed natural. “We always shared everything,” said Joan. “It just seems inevitable that we would go through cancer together too.”

Jean (Left) and twin sister Joan (right) pictured with their cousin.

Jean (Left) and twin sister Joan (right) pictured with their cousin.


In early 2016, Joan was having a routine mammogram that ended up being anything but routine. Following the mammogram she had a lumpectomy, which resulted in later having a double mastectomy when it was discovered that her entire breast had cancer in it.

 

A month later her twin sister Jean felt a lump in her breast. Jean was nervous but thankful she already had a resource for information. “It was scary at first. Could this really happen to both of us at the same time?” Jean reflected. “But it was also a tremendous relief…not relief…but such a support for me. I wasn’t as frightened because I wasn’t alone.” Jean credits Joan’s experience with saving her life. Jean opted to have a double mastectomy right away. When her breast tissue was tested, they found that there was a second, early stage, more aggressive cancer in the breast that they hadn’t noticed in diagnostic testing. “It could have turned out so much worse,” Jean said.

Joan (L) with twin sister Jean (R) are going through breast cancer together.

Joan (L) with twin sister Jean (R) are going through breast cancer together.

Once they were diagnosed, they continued to help each other. Joan had been referred to the Beyond Pink TEAM by her doctor, to help her with medical expenses that her insurance didn’t cover. She also applied for help with her utilities as she was the only income in her household. “It was such a blessing,” said Joan. “My husband can’t work, and mine is the only paycheck. Being off work…we could have lost everything.”

Joan knew that her twin sister would also be off work and suggested she look into the Beyond Pink TEAM as well. Jean knew she would need help with her rent. Her landlord was her sister Joan, who was not in a position to be without rent money. “It was such a godsend. To know that I could get assistance, which in turn would help my sister, it was such a relief,” said Jean.

 

People like Joan and Jean are the reason that over 800 participants signed up for the Pink Ribbon Run 5K last year, and why the committee is hoping even more will participate this year. Due to the large turnout in 2015, the Pink Ribbon Run committee donated over $49,000 to the Beyond Pink TEAM. It was the largest donation to the Beyond Pink TEAM in the 9 years of the Pink Ribbon Run.

The committee has donated over $221,000 to the Beyond Pink TEAM since the race’s inception. All money raised by the Pink Ribbon Run, stays local and helps local families facing a breast cancer diagnosis. In 2015, the Beyond Pink TEAM put that money to work by awarding 79 grants to women in nine counties, with support that totaled over $63,000.

The 10th Annual Pink Ribbon Run is presented by Oakridge Realtors and University of Iowa Community Credit Union for the second year in row. The support of sponsors this year means ALL race registration funds go directly to helping other people. The committee has covered all expenses thanks to sponsorships. Also returning for a second year, the committee is thankful for Community Auto as the Survivor Sponsor. As part of this sponsorship Community Auto will cover the registration fee for any breast cancer survivor who participates in the Pink Ribbon Run.

Money from the Pink Ribbon Run is put into a fund at the Northeast Iowa Community Foundation. The Beyond Pink Fund, as it is named, began awarding grants in 2008. Grants are given to women or men facing a breast cancer diagnosis who are in need of assistance in Black Hawk County and surrounding counties. The assistance can be used for groceries, gas money, utility expenses, medical costs, etc.

Along with being a great route to run or walk, there will be special recognition for breast cancer survivors before the race begins, and also during the program afterward.  Registration for the Pink Ribbon Run is $30 until September 12; $35 after September 12. There is no Tshirt guarantee for registrations after September 12. The race will begin at 8 am, and afterward there will be light refreshments sponsored by Martin Brothers, race awards and door prizes!!

Online registration is available by going to the Beyond Pink TEAM website at www.beyondpinkteam.org . The Pink Ribbon Run is organized by a committee of volunteers from the community. All funds raised are donated to the Beyond Pink TEAM.  To become a sponsor or to have a registration form mailed to you call Community Main Street office at 319-277-0213.

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Never Give Up.

Gabbi : August 19, 2016 9:21 pm : Events, Young Cancer Survivors

I was 34 years old when I was diagnosed. My kids were ages 1, 4, 6 and 9.  My daughter Roni had turned 1 in November, and I was just finishing up breast feeding in December or January. In February, I found a lump by accident. I thought nothing of it. I just thought I was still drying up from nursing, but I decided to have my doctor take a look at it just in case. My doctor suggested I get an ultrasound. The ultrasound doctor said it was not filled with fluid but it was a mass and suggested I go to a surgeon.

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Marina and her youngest daughter, Roni at the 9th Annual Pink Ribbon Run.

I literally had no idea what anything meant because no one gets cancer at 34….right? I was oblivious. But I just went from one appointment to the next. Nothing really hit me until the oncologist (literally the cancer doctor) told me I was going to get chemo. I said to her, “Ummm…I’m just here for radiation.” As it turned out, I wasn’t just there for radiation. Over the next 12 months, I was scheduled for a surgery to implant a port for the chemo, then endured 6 rounds of chemo and 32 radiation treatments. My breast cancer was Stage 2. One standard test during cancer treatment is a bone scan. My bone scan showed several tumors throughout my body, so they started to check for bone cancer. They were looking for Stage 4 bone cancer…that was very scary. They did hideous bone biopsies but thankfully they turned out to be benign tumors.

 

I write about this, not to bore you with my medical history, but to give you a general feel for where my head was at during that time. It also speaks to how I feel about the Pink Ribbon Run. Through the first six months, I never thought a thing about my cancer. I kept saying I was totally fine. I was just thankful my kids didn’t have cancer. I was in complete denial. So, I completed four rounds of chemo, worked 40 hours per week and raised four kids, like everything was totally normal. I was so sick and really tired.  After I completed four rounds of chemo and all the radiation treatments, I was supposed to go to back for two more rounds of chemo, Taxol. I had heard that Taxol was the worst. My hair was just starting to grow back. I was feeling normal, rocking my short hair; I had even stopped wearing a bandana.  I was preparing to go in for my weekly doctor appointment with the oncologist and I was feeling strong. Super confident. I had convinced myself that I did not need to finish my treatments, I was still “fine” and I was going to tell her I wasn’t going to do it.  I prayed, out loud, all the way to the doctor appointment. It was a super strong conversation with God, praying for strength and guidance to get through this appointment, a “help me through this” kind of prayer. It was a good conversation. I walked into the office, confident and strong, ready to go. I sat in the waiting room of her office…..it was also the waiting room for the “chemo room.”

 

This is the turning point in my story. A woman came out of the chemo room and sat down right next to me and started a conversation with me. I know she was an angel. I can’t tell you word for word what she said to me but she was younger, in her 40’s and she had had a relapse. She was talking to me about fighting and never giving up, and how no matter what you are faced with you have to be strong and know you can do it. I never told her what I was planning to say to my doctor, but every word she said was exactly what I had asked God for…I had wanted to quit, and the message back was: I needed to fight.

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Marina at the 9th Annual Pink Ribbon Run with her biggest supporters.

The woman went back in the chemo room and I just sat there with tears just streaming down my face, I wasn’t crying out loud, just silent tears. I went into my appointment with my doctor and started bawling… a lot. She rubbed my back and called a counselor and set up an appointment for me. She said, with her Indian accent, “You go to counseling, it’s ok.” So, I went to counseling, and it was amazing. But, I never went to a young cancer survivor group. I never had anyone to talk to about what I was going through. I never connected to another person going through what I was going through.  That was 11 years ago.

 

My first Pink Ribbon Run was in 2013. We have gone for the past three years. This is the time of year I celebrate how thankful I am for my life and every year I am so amazed at how happy I am. I cannot believe how many people are in my life now and how thankful I am that I fought through the tough times. The Pink Ribbon Run 5K is very special because I am surrounded by women who have gone through the same thing I have gone through, even though we don’t talk in depth about our stories. It is seriously the first time I have been around survivors. Not reaching out to a survivor group is my biggest regret, I feel like I missed out on a sisterhood of support.

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6th Annual Pink Ribbon Run- the first Survivor photo with the first of the painted signs.

When we are all together for the big picture, sometimes we make funny comments that would only be funny to someone who has had cancer. For example, the year of the spray painted sign someone said, “we survived chemo, a little paint fumes aren’t going to kill us.”  With other survivors it is okay to say cancer. People get so afraid to talk about it, and I get it, no one knows what to say, and certainly does not want to offend or make us feel bad. But it’s nice to be with survivors, to be a little sarcastic and funny. I love the survivor picture, it makes me feel a part of the sisterhood. I feel like I belong to something bigger than cancer. I love my pink shirt that says Survivor, and I love the pink beads, I feel fancy…and special.

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9th Annual Pink Ribbon Run Survivor photo.

At the Pink Ribbon Run, we celebrate our lives and the time we have as a family. The kids and I run together as a family; as a celebration. We all get dressed up in pink, crazy socks, make tutu’s, have fun with it. I love the Memorial signs that are along the course, too. I cry every time I walk by one.   I am thankful every day. I am still here, watching my kids grow, and the first weekend in October is when I remember and celebrate all these things. I will be there every year to celebrate my life and be an inspiration to the women who are still fighting. And to the survivors who are attending their first race? Come join us.

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Uncategorized

Breast cancer hasn’t stopped Tina Wendel from living life!

Gabbi : September 23, 2016 6:40 pm : Uncategorized

Below is a survivor perspective from Tina Wendel:

This Pink Ribbon Run marks my 6th year as a participant and my 24th year as a breast cancer survivor.  In 2010 I became aware of this event and my intention on the first run was to be a part in finding a cure for this disease.  As I learned more about the Beyond Pink TEAM and how it helps men and women right here in Northeast Iowa, my focus changed to bringing awareness about the importance of early detection and how I can support local survivors.

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Tina Wendel, 24 year survivor, at the 6th Annual Pink Ribbon Run.

As I’ve been trying to put my thoughts together to tell my survivor story, my mind keeps coming back to those that won’t have a survivor story to be told, those that have received the diagnosis that their breast cancer is incurable.  I praise God that I was one of the lucky ones that found my tumor early, that the surgeries & treatments were successful and I am able to participate 24.5 years after my diagnosis.  I recently had a scare that my cancer had metastasized and was out of my mind with worry until the biopsy results revealed that was not the case.  All these years later, recurrence still hides in the back of my mind.

 

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Tina (to the right of the Profile Fitness sign) with her team of supporters at the 9th Pink Ribbon Run.

 

Yes, I am a cancer survivor today because of early detection and the grace of God.  A breast cancer diagnosis didn’t stop me from living. It didn’t stop me from being a mom to my son and adopting two wonderful daughters.  It didn’t stop me from becoming a grandmother to 4 amazing grandchildren.  And breast cancer won’t stop me from participating in events such as the Pink Ribbon Run that fund financial support to those battling the disease.

On October 1, I will participate in my 6th Pink Ribbon event.  At my side will be my 2 daughters, 2 of my sisters, my daughter-in-law, 2 of my 4 grandchildren and some of my good friends that always support me in my fight.  October 13 is National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and I will wear pink for the women that are living with the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer and for all their stories that you won’t hear about in the month of October.

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Tina (left) runs the PRR course with a neck FULL of pink beads. Joining her are her daughters and team members.

Pink Ribbon Run committee note:  If you are motivated now to join the Pink Ribbon Run- follow this link to register. Online registration is open through Wednesday, September 28 at noon. But we will still be taking registrations at packet pickup on Friday, September 30 from 5-7 pm and Saturday October 1 beginning at 7 am. Breast Cancer Survivors get free registration thanks to Survivor Sponsor Community Auto Group.

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Grundy Hospital wears PINK!

Gabbi : December 3, 2013 3:59 pm : From the Team, Fundraiser, Uncategorized

The Grundy County Hospital Radiology Department held a fundraiser in October for the Beyond Pink TEAM in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Employees at the hospital donated money. Once they met their goal of $500- CEO Brian Kellar, and Radiology Manager Craig Buskohl- would wear pink scrubs on Friday, October 25.  They obviously made their goal!

Grundy County Hospital CEO Brian Keller (R) and Radiology Manager Craig Buskohl (L) proudly wear pink to support the Beyond Pink TEAM.

Grundy County Hospital CEO Brian Keller (R) and Radiology Manager Craig Buskohl (L) proudly wear pink to support the Beyond Pink TEAM.

Grundy Hospital radiology staff, manager Craig Buskohl center (with headband), raised $500 for the Beyond Pink TEAM.

Grundy Hospital staff raised $500 for the Beyond Pink TEAM.

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