Team of the Week

The Cancer Made Me Do It

One woman’s celebration of beating the odds twice

The Cancer Made Me Do It team will be racing for the first time in 2011.  Its captain, Carol Abramson, has been dealing with cancer for almost 30 years. While a senior at Boston University, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  A New Yorker, she decided to finish school while being treated.  She had major surgery, followed by four rounds of cobalt and LINAC radiation five days a week for four weeks with one-week breaks in between.  The treatment was brutal, but she was cancer free for 29 years.


Matthew, Carol, Scott & Alissa.

Last October, Abramson’s mother was diagnosed with mouth cancer.  At the end of her mother’s first radiology consultation, the doctor asked Abramson about whether she followed up on her disease and was up-to-date on all her screenings.  “I was except for my mammogram and ultrasound,” she remembered.  The doctor recommended the tests be scheduled as soon as possible, because people who’ve had cobalt radiation are at higher risk for breast cancer.

Abramson scheduled the screenings on Valentine’s Day.  A half-hour after she returned home, she received a call that there was something suspicious on the ultrasound.  A week later, a biopsy confirmed the lump was malignant.  It was small, and for most women the treatment plan would have been a lumpectomy and radiation.  “But the cobalt had robbed me of my choices,” she explained.  It was determined she would have to have a mastectomy and, because she was likely to get cancer in her other breast, a double mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy.

“After telling my family, I knew I had to tell the rest of my friends, “ she recalled, “but couldn’t bare telling the story over and over.” And so her blog — The Cancer Made Me Do It — was born.  She has written 32 posts since May. 

Her husband Scott and their 11-year-old twins Matt and Alissa have been amazing.  “I am thankful to be alive — to have an unbelievably supportive and loving husband and two exceptional children,” she said.  The family also motivated her to start a nonprofit named after the blog, which will raise money for six organizations including Komen for the Cure.  And she formed a namesake team for the Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure®

 “We already have 25 members and the team is growing,” said Abramson.  Team members include friends, family and followers of her blog.  The team fundraising goal was originally set for $5,000, but since over $6,000 has already been pledged, the goal has been upped to $7,500.

Race Day — September 18th  — is Carol Abramson’s 50th birthday.  “It’s the ultimate in birthday celebrations, “ she exclaimed.  “To be surrounded by my friends, family and thousands who share my battle will be the best gift I can ask for.  I will walk proudly to raise money to find the cures once and for all.”

And, she’ll have the added bonus of knowing that September 19th is her final chemo treatment.  “I’m going to end my treatment the way it began,” she said.  “Happy, upbeat and willing to face any challenge the world throws at me.”