Survivors

Diane’s Story

Diane’s Story

Diane’s Story

Diane is the namesake for our two new limited edition PINK skirts. $5 from each “Diane” skirt sold will go to The Florida Breast Cancer Foundation. Diane’s story is inspiring to us, and we hope you will be inspired, too.

(You can read more stories about our Fabulous Four Survivors here!)

Long before the expression “Fight like a Girl” was heard, Diane Slater said, “I will not go without a fight! I will not let this beat me!” This was her declaration when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 49. After a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, she charged forward in all possible treatments for the disease that refused to leave her body. Unfortunately, after a 6 year battle, she lost the war. She left behind a memory and legacy of a strong, good-natured person who many will keep in their hearts forever.

Born in NY and growing up in south Florida, she was always a positive person. The youngest of three, surrounded by her large family of cousins and many friends, she was always very adventurous. While in high school, she made some very good friends who stayed in touch throughout their lives, to later become known as the Gable Girls. While visiting her sister in NY, she met the man of her dreams. They soon married and moved back to south Florida to raise their family. She raised her children while caring for her ailing parents and later her in-laws. Despite working a full time job and taking care of those around her, she always had an open-door policy in her home. Friends were always welcome, and she was happiest when she was able to feed people! Friends soon learned it was easier to simply accept her offer of food and drink, or she would drive them crazy until they did.

Diane touched so many lives. She was giving and caring to people in distress and would do anything to help make someone else’s life better. She is best remembered by these characteristics: caring, giving to people in time of need, a solid rock that you could depend on, and a mother to all who needed it. She was one of those people you could rely on for anything in life. Everyone considered her one of the nicest, warmest, most sincere people they had the pleasure of knowing. She always had kind words to say and thoughtful advice to give. Diane was known as a very positive person. Her motto was “Live every day to the fullest!”

Her friends and family still miss Diane’s presence and all who knew her are better off in life with the influence she had on people’s lives. Her strength and positive attitude toward life is something we all took from her. Her legacy and memory will live on; through her children, grandchildren, and friends.

Jill’s Story

Jill’s Story

Cancer, it STINKS! It’s a part of your life that doesn’t seem real, a bizarre trip inside someone else’s body. It wasn’t me that I saw in the mirror. There was an odd person looking back, one I didn’t recognize.

I would never see myself the same again, the woman I was before. NEVER! That was rough, but empowering! I wouldn’t be the woman I was before, but I would become a stronger, braver, more peaceful woman. I just knew that GOD would take care of me. I just did. He is in control. I would finally let Him take care of this. It was easy to hand this over to GOD and I don’t give up control too easily.

It’s a work in progress. What a relief, the pressure was off! I would be okay. Today I’m better than ok. Along with the love of my husband, daughters, family and friends I am moving on! I am moving forward in my life, but not without remembering the blessings it bestowed on me.

Peggy’s Story

Peggy’s Story

It was the day after Easter, just a few weeks before my 44th birthday, when I was told I had breast cancer. I remember sitting across the table from my husband as we tried to wrap our minds around what the future held. We had the hope and inspiration of my mom, who is a 23 year breast cancer survivor. However, we also knew the grim reality of this disease, as we had lost my cousin’s wife to breast cancer just a few weeks before.

We held hands and determined that we would not live in fear of cancer, but trust God to walk us through each step of the journey, no matter what that entailed. God has been our strength and peace ever since! I ultimately had a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, which meant I would not need radiation treatment. The tumor and lymph nodes were tested and it was determined that the cancer was not very aggressive, which meant that chemo would not be necessary.

Within about 5 months, I had gone from diagnosis to recovering from the final reconstruction surgery. I’m in awe of how much I have been spared! I still don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that breast cancer did not take away from my life. Instead, it made me trust God deeper, say more “I love you’s” to my family, and have a greater hope for life.

Kathy’s Story

Kathy’s Story

My name is Kathy Stone and I am currently battling breast cancer for the 3rd time.   I would like to tell you a little about my Breast Cancer journey in an effort to give hope and encouragement to all women.

Hearing those dreadful words ” you have cancer”  the first time at age 34 was very daunting; it was 1990 and the “pink ribbon” campaign had not  been launched so information was limited.   It was Stage 1 requiring a lumpectomy, with chemotherapy and radiation but my hair stayed with me.  I knew of no one facing this disease at my age with two toddlers and a full time job. Needless to say I felt alone and scared. 

I  found out as much as I could about breast cancer with the help of non-profits, brochures, asking my doctors a lot of questions , and whatever I could do to further my knowledge of what I was facing.   The Internet was non-existant at the time!  I forged ahead with the help of a wonderful supportive spouse, family, and friends and survived living life to the fullest.  I even had to start chemotherapy in Atlanta and continue when our jobs transferred us to Miami.   Miami was another test of survivorship  when we lost our home to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  As the storm surrounded us I thought ” I survived breast cancer, surely I can survive a hurricane”.    

Seventeen years later, I heard those words again and this time it was a Stage III diagnosis requiring a mastectomy, even more powerful chemotherapy, and several rounds of radiation.  This time my hair decided not to stick around and with the help of my husband, we shaved it off.  This was difficult but as the saying goes “its only hair”.  The chemotherapy in the beginning was difficult but I continued working full time with my daughter in high school and my son in college.  In 2009 I completed my first half marathon in Jacksonville at the National Breast Cancer Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer and was thrilled when I crossed that finish line with my family waiting for me.  I went on to complete the same race in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

This past May, I heard those words for the 3rd time and I have to say it was a shock.  I had my 2nd mastectomy for stage IV cancer in the lymph nodes surrounding the breast, and am currently going thru chemotherapy.  My husband and I made our 2nd trip to the garage to shave off my hair.  We joked that we really needed to find a better way to spend our “empty nest” time!  

I cannot say enough how important it is for women to know their bodies and do those self exams.  All three times I found the lump myself and acted on it immediately and know that is what saved my life.   

Another piece of advise is exercise now and as much as you can during any cancer treatment. There are days it is difficult to walk/run or just move much at all.  But each time I force myself to walk, swim etc., I feel good and sleep much better at night.

I am planning on doing the half marathon in Jacksonville in February 2013 and cannot wait to cross that finish line as a three time survivor!

 

Deb’s Story

Deb’s Story

August of 2010 I received a call from my family physician, waiting for results from my recent mammogram/ biopsy.  She told me “it’s breast cancer”. I think I was a bit of a  shock as I had to ask a couple of times the details of the diagnosis.  Then I met the most phenomenal doctors at MD Anderson who are just amazing.

I remember meeting with my surgeon and telling her this  diagnosis could not interfere with my race schedule, which we laughed about  and I knew I was in the very best of hands.  I knew I needed to stay positive and believe God gave this to me as an opportunity and a challenge to do some good in my life.  In September of 2010 I had a lumpectomy and three lymph nodes removed. It was stage 1 grade 2 D carcinoma/invasive.

October 2010 I ran the Chicago Marathon and felt blessed that God continued to allow me to do the thing I love.  This was followed by 3 months of radiation.  I again met the most amazing people at the Cancer Center in Clermont and are forever grateful to all of those who were involved in saving my life.  I have also had some amazing friends who have been there and continue to be there throughout my life.

I am now two years cancer free and maintaining a positive outlook and faith in God without whom I would have nothing in my life.