Dear Friends and Family,
As you know, my beautiful mother Sheila Bebchick has been fighting advanced breast cancer for over nine years. Throughout all the almost daily treatments, doctors' appointments, clinical trials and tests, she has stayed positive and strong. She is both my constant inspiration and my hero.
The past two years have been particularly significant for me because like my mother, whenever I register for this race, I have to check off the box labeled: SURVIVOR.
In early December 2013, just after my 39th birthday, I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. In light of my family history, I had been a part of a high-risk surveillance group, demanding early mammograms and ultrasounds, which ultimately led to the early detection of my cancer and may have even saved my life.
Inspired by my mother’s example, I found the most amazing team of doctors and made the difficult decision to be as aggressive as possible with surgery: a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Multiple planned surgeries and countless doctor visits under my belt, I am living my new normal.
Despite my diagnosis and everything subsequent, I still consider myself lucky; my breast cancer was caught early. I tested negative for BRCA and all other known genetic panels (despite me now being 4th generation) and the cancer was small enough and didn’t spread to my lymph nodes enabling me to avoid any chemotherapy and radiation.
There is a great deal of time spent thinking when you are confronted with a life-changing illness. It is hard to put your breast cancer behind you when a member of your family continues to struggle; when friends call and tell you they’ve been diagnosed; when you see pink everywhere. This is why we race. This is why I don’t stay silent. You can do everything right--exercise, live a healthy lifestyle, even run marathons-and it can still happen. The time is now for all of us to stand up and do what each of us can to make a difference.
Be an advocate for yourself and others!
Don’t put off screening for breast cancer!
A fortune cookie revealed, “It’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” Well, I decided long ago that I would take on this experience and not let it break me. I would be a support system for anyone who needs me. I would continue to raise money and run breast cancer out of town.
I continue to pray that my mother’s health will stay steady so that we can walk proudly with her and all the other breast cancer warriors and supporters. We do this so that one day we can eventually live in a world where cancer doesn’t exist.
In 2015, we raised an astounding, $33,233 and over the past seven years, a total of $78,970. I will never forget having the honor of ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on behalf of the Greater NYC Komen Chapter two year’s ago, being interviewed on live tv last year before the race, and accepting Komen’s Greater NYC Co-Survivor of the Year Award on behalf of my family.
Please join Team Sheila today. If you are unable to be there in person, please consider making a donation.
Your continued support means so much to our family. I can’t wait to see you on September 10, 2016.