Katy Rose

Posted by on Jan 25, 2012 in Blog | 1 comment

Katy Rose

At 15 years of age I began noticing changes in my mom’s health. It kept deteriorating and no one could seem to tell us why, or find a way to help her. For over two years I watched my mom decline until she was finally hospitalized for congestive heart failure. While in the hospital they finally discovered why: she had advanced stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After seeing 3 different specialists they all came to the same conclusion – she was going to die anyway and she shouldn’t bother suffering through cancer treatments.

Luckily my mom is one of the most stubborn and strong women I’ve ever known and she was not willing to give up without a fight.

After nearly 6 months of ‘standard’ chemo, there was still no improvement. Her cancer was advanced enough that it hadn’t hardly worked at all. Then she found a doctor specializing in treating breast cancer who was conducting a clinical trial on stem cell transplants in breast cancer patients. He was willing to add her to the study. After being on chemo again for several months to reduce tumor load and going through the transplant process she was declared cancer free. Nearly 13 years later I still have my mom.

While my mom was going through her cancer battle, so was the other woman who helped to raise me. A few months after my mom was diagnosed I got a call from the person I’d grown up with; my best friend since first grade. His mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Within six months he called me to say that the disease had claimed another victim.

A breast cancer treatment saved my mom’s life. Because of breast cancer research my mom was able to see me graduate high school and college. She will be able to see me get married and to meet her grandchildren.

Sadly, cancer runs in my family. Though my mom had lymphoma, three of my cousins and two of my aunts have battled the breast cancer. This past April, I lost my grandmother to breast cancer.

As a high school teacher every day I see coworkers (many of them are female) who are survivors. I am open with my students (they help me fundraise for Komen as a service project every year) about what my family has been through. This has opened a door for them to be able to communicate with me about being affected by breast cancer. There are so many of them that have mothers, grandmothers, aunts that are facing breast cancer; I have found that it helps them to know that someone has gone through the same thing that they are.

I’ve watched those that I love and care about go through cancer treatment. I’ve watched my friends have loved ones go through cancer treatments. A long story short: not only am I sick and tired of having this disease affect those that I care about, but I bet you would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t been touched by it in some way. I myself do not want to be frightened out of my ever loving mind if I God forbid have to hear the words ‘you’ve got breast cancer’ and sadly because of my family history, it could very well happen. I am more than ready to find a cure.

But I am by no means a doctor or researcher, so the way that I can help is to raise money for those who are. The way that I can help is to raise money that helps fund programs for treatment and early detection.

That is why I participate in the Komen 3 Day Walk for a Cure. My goal was simple: to raise money for Komen to use to support research and programs that help those effect by breast cancer.

I got so much more than I bargained for. I have found a family and support group of people that understand what I and my family have been through. I have found a way to feel like I can do SOMETHING to help the fight against this disease. Because of fundraising, walking, and volunteering the little girl who was called in 3 times because her mother was supposed to die is not helpless anymore. There IS something that I can do. I can, I have, and I will continue to make a difference.

Together we CAN make a difference.

Donate to Katy Today!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your story today… giving a fantastic voice to how breast cancer research can have positive outcomes to other types of cancer’s as well! I have a friend with non hodgkins and he is still alive today becuase of that diehard “I will not give up” spirit like your mom had. He is one of the reasons I say to myself when I am fighting the “what good am I really doing” attitude that I keep going. Your story will be one of those as well. We walk because we can’t walk away!

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