Posts Tagged ‘survivors’

Survivor Spotlight: Let It Shine On You!

Posted By on October 16th, 2012 at 8:58 am | 89 comments.

Each month we turn the spotlight on a breast cancer survivor living in Pennsylvania and tell their unique story. This month, in honor of breast cancer awareness month, we encourage all breast cancer survivors to share their experience with those around them. Let the sharing of your story be a release for you; motivate others to get the mammogram they’ve been putting off;  reassure someone in the midst of their breast cancer journey. Add your story and your voice to the collective understanding of what life is like for women with breast cancer.

If you’d like to share your story with the PBCC, please email Amy at Amy@PABreastCancer.org. If you are able to tell of your experience in 400 words or less, we may feature you in a future FrontLine or PinkLink newsletter.

Survivor Spotlight – Patti Kostrubiak

Posted By on September 17th, 2012 at 11:59 am | 59 comments.

At my yearly check-up in 2004 my doctor felt a thickening in my breast. I was 39 years old so he said we should get a baseline mammogram. I had no family history or risk factors. After a biopsy, I had to decide between a lumpectomy and a mastectomy. I chose lumpectomy and they removed 15 lymph nodes and six of them were positive for breast cancer. I had chemotherapy from August through February, and then had radiation for 33 straight days.

I was really annoyed that I was diagnosed because I’m a very busy mom. I thought this is going to interrupt my schedule and I just didn’t have time! Fortunately Grand View Hospital in Sellersville is just five minutes from my house so I had radiation before work, then went to work and went about my day.

Once I finished treatment I wanted to find a way to give back. When I found the PBCC’s website I thought “this is for me.” I wanted to tell my story because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. Now I represent Bucks County in the PBCC traveling photo exhibit and volunteered this year at the Take A Swing Against Breast Cancer home run derby in Reading.It was so much fun!

My husband John and I have two children. Our son Sean is 19 and our daughter Erin is 23. I work as a career EMT at Volunteer Medical Service Corps of Lansdale, and serve as a volunteer firefighter at Perkasie. This is something I always wanted to do, and so did my daughter. When she turned 18 she was old enough to be certified so we went through certification together. I also love to cross-stitch, scrapbook, and go to the beach.

The best advice I got was to never listen to anyone’s horror stories. You just take it one day at a time and one treatment at a time. And keep a positive attitude! That’s the biggest thing.

Take the FREE Online Course on the Free Treatment Program

Posted By on September 17th, 2012 at 11:58 am | 67 comments.

Over 800 people have taken the PBCC’s free online course on Pennsylvania’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program, which provides free treatment for uninsured and underinsured women battling breast cancer – and YOU  should join them! The course is available for all who wish to take it, with free continuing education credits available for nurses and social workers. Click here to take it now!

Real case studies give practical examples of who is eligible for free treatment, how the program works, and the overall benefit to the women who are covered through the program. Those who take the course will have the knowledge necessary to direct women to the program so that they can get the care they need without worrying about how to pay for it.

Batters of all ages step up to the plate in Altoona

Posted By on July 30th, 2012 at 10:26 am | 25 comments.

The Skys the LimitOn Wednesday, July 25, batters, fans and a plethora of volunteers came out to the Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Altoona Curve, to participate in the second-to-last home run derby of the season. Take a Swing Against Breast Cancer® at the Altoona Curve started out with a group of “little sluggers” stepping up to the plate to take their turn at the batting cage. This group, comprised of 3 batters under the age of 15, knocked off the socks of spectators as they made some incredible hits to the outfield and truly held their ground. Look out for this group in the years to come at Altoona!

Thanks to all of our teams, and the groups of volunteers who stayed with us throughout the day to shag balls in the outfield as the sun beat down on them…that’s dedication! We had groups from AT&T, Best Buy, YTI Career Institute and the Altoona Curve Junior. We couldn’t have been there without you, thanks for your support!

Check out the list of teams below, and our solo home run hitter!

Home Run Hitters:

Thanks to everyone who came out, including the staff of the Altoona Curve for their help and enthusiasm at our event. View all of the photos from the Altoona Derby at Peoples Natural Gas Field here.

Gloria Ferri – Survivor Spotlight, Carbon County

Posted By on July 18th, 2012 at 9:59 am | 47 comments.

I was 60 years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought it couldn’t happen to me. That was 22 years ago. My doctor had scheduled a mammogram for me and that mammogram saved my life. I wouldn’t have known about the cancer until it was too late. Sometimes women tell me that they don’t want to have a mammogram because they’re afraid it will hurt. I tell them that one little hurt is going to save you a big one later on.

When I was first diagnosed, Pat Halpin-Murphy hadn’t created the PA Breast Cancer Coalition yet. But once it got started, the PBCC invited me to represent Carbon County in the traveling photo exhibit. I agreed right away. I’m always willing to help with anything. I know that Pat and the PBCC have been working tirelessly and will always keep going to help other women.

Through surgery and radiation treatments, I had faith. And I kept my sense of humor and kept busy. That will get you through difficult times. I love to crochet and have made many bride dolls, and I wanted to do something special for the PBCC. So I made a pink doll and attached 67 roses to the train to represent the women in the 67 counties from the exhibit, and I added pink beads in memory of those we have lost. I was happy to be able to present the doll to Pat at the recent exhibit opening at the Hazelton Health & Wellness Center. Quite a few friends have asked me to make one for them but I won’t make another one like it. It’s one of a kind, just like Pat is.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of changes, like digital mammograms and other advances. I see many more women getting mammograms now and talking openly about their breast cancer. It’s really good to see that.

Hazleton Hosts 67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania

Posted By on July 18th, 2012 at 9:58 am | 31 comments.

The Hazleton Health and Wellness Center hosted the 67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania traveling photo exhibit last month. An opening reception featuring a number of speakers kicked off the exhibit’s stay in Luzerne County. The reception concluded with a moving recognition of all breast cancer survivors in attendance.

Joining Pat Halpin-Murphy in speaking at the exhibit were Jim Edwards, CEO of the Greater Hazleton Health Alliance, Joanne Grossi, regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; State Senator John Yudichak, State Representative Tarah Toohil, and breast cancer survivor and Luzerne County exhibit participant Beverly Hernandez.

Go PINK at Pocono Promotes Breast Cancer Education and Early Detection

Posted By on June 22nd, 2012 at 9:52 am | 24 comments.

For Immediate Release
June 22, 2012

For PA Breast Cancer Coalition:
Heather Hibshman, 717-721-2580
For The Martel Group:
Rob Ziemba, 717-480-8610

Harrisburg, Pa. – The summer heat of August may be three months away — but a new fundraising partnership is already burning up the pavement for a statewide non-profit organization. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) recently teamed up with Lebanon-based Bill Martel Racing to promote breast cancer awareness and education at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountain 125 and The Pennsylvania ARCA 125 – Presented by Menard’s. These events will take place during the first weekend of August at The Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA.

Go Pink at Pocono benefits the PA Breast Cancer Coalition and event organizers are searching for supporting sponsors to join them in victory lane. Multiple sponsorship levels are available and include race car and race truck logos, event tickets, pit tours, driver meet-and-greets and more! Inaugural Go Pink at Pocono race t-shirts will also be for sale and are sure to be a hit. Race veteran Kyle Martel of Lebanon will drive one-of-a-kind pink vehicles during two events at the Pocono Raceway.

“This unique event will take the message of breast cancer awareness and early detection to thousands of Pennsylvania families,” said Pat Halpin-Murphy, president and founder of the PBCC. “We are extremely grateful to Bill Martel Racing for joining forces with the PBCC.”

“We are both honored and excited to promote the PBCC at one of the most visible races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – and for one of the best causes in Pennsylvania,” said Rob Ziemba, V.P. Sales and Marketing for Bill Martel Racing and The Martel Group. “The winner will be the PBCC because the money stays in Pennsylvania.”

Ziemba concluded by saying “we are racing for a reputable Pennsylvania organization and have the right race team and driver in place to help raise as much money and awareness as we can. We want to cross the finish line with the PBCC and do our part to help find a cure for breast cancer now…so our daughters won’t have to.” 

To sponsor Go Pink at Pocono, and to request additional information, please contact Rob Ziemba at rziemba@hanovercoldstorage.net. For more information about Bill Martel Racing, visit www.kylemartel.com.

The PBCC represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. For information call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.

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Survivor Spotlight: Gail Hibshman

Posted By on June 15th, 2012 at 9:02 am | 34 comments.

“There are only two kinds of women in the world: those who fear breast cancer and those who have it.” … Lt. Van Buren of TV’s Law and Order

In 1999 I fell into both categories. What showed up in my mammogram looked like salt sprinkles which are calcifications. My doctors offered me two choices, a mastectomy or lumpectomy with six weeks of radiation. Then it was time to call my daughter-in-law Heather. Heather said I should get a second opinion. I went to Fox Chase Cancer Center where they strongly recommended the mastectomy. My head was spinning. I didn’t have any knowledge about this so listened to the people who did.

My advice is to always have someone else in the room with you when you’re going to hear about treatment options. I was in a fog but my husband Glenn wrote everything down and read it back to me later. I had the mastectomy and I use a cotton-filled prosthesis. It feels like rice pillows and I’m comfortable with that.

Glenn always made me feel attractive and desirable and that nothing had changed. I don’t know what I would have done if he looked at me differently. My sons were a huge support to me and I can never thank them enough.

I’ve learned these lessons:

Give yourself the gift of savoring the moment. Smell a rose, hug a pet, kiss your husband.

Don’t live in the land of “what if?” because “what if’s” don’t prepare you for the future. Most “what if’s” never happen.

Open yourself up to other women. Their beauty, strength, and caring will lift you up.

I retired from teaching English at Cornwall Lebanon School District in 2003. Now I work with Three Dog Landscaping, a family business. I love reading, taking day trips, and spending time with my 6 year-old granddaughter Molly.