Dr. Ralph Bell, Marietta:
Dr. Bell discovered he had Stage 1 breast cancer in 2004 after he’d been recently laid off from an executive position with a healthcare firm. He had a mammogram on a Monday and a lumpectomy the following Wednesday followed in a month with a mastectomy and chemo with all the same affects that women have i.e., hot flashes, mood swings. His message to men: “It’s rare, but it is possible.” He is now using his experience to help others. His prayer each morning - “Lord, let me be a blessing to someone today.”
Lynn Dunn, Smyrna:
Diagnosed in 2008, she immediately adopted the attitude that cancer would not beat her. She began advocating and raising money for breast cancer. Her team “git-R-Dunn” raised $8,000. Lynn is an amazing, tireless soldier in finding the cure, raising funds and supporting others in their battle against breast cancer.
All Dawn ever wanted was to be a wife and mother. Finally at 36 she met the man of her dreams and was ready to start a family. Unfortunately, due to her age she had difficulty getting pregnant, but was finally blessed with a baby boy. She immediately tried for a second child - success again. At 25 weeks pregnant and 39 years old, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. The good news was that the cancer had not spread and she could wait until her second son was born to start chemo. It was a tough year, but also filled with so much joy with her sweet boys and husband by her side.
Holly Gilbert, Woodstock:
Holly is an RN for a Plastic Surgeon and part of her job is to help women get through one of the toughest times of their lives: breast cancer and reconstruction. She never realized she would one day be one of them. Her journey began after a vivid dream where a lady pointed to a place on her right chest and said “that’s cancer.” The next morning she found a lump which turned out to be cancer, had a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction and chemo. After her journey she hopes she can care for others more effectively using her personal knowledge and experience.
Adele Grubbs, Marietta:
Adele describes her story as simple. She had a biopsy in 1983 on her left breast and it was benign. But because of that experience she has not failed to get a mammogram every year. Every once in a while a letter would come to tell her to have it redone because it was not clear, and it always turned out alright. In November 2008 she received such a letter and told her Secretary as she left “Here we go again”. When she arrived at the hospital she knew it was different. She saw a Radiologist, and three people were in the room when they redid the mammogram. She says she was lucky, only having a lumpectomy and radiation, since it was caught early, and knows that many are not as lucky. She will finish her tamoxifen next year!
Sharon Herndon, Marietta:
In May of 1991 Sharon went for her regular gynecologist appointment and was given papers to have a mammogram. Not thinking anything had changed, she walked in, had the mammogram and left. About a week later, she was standing in hallway between classes at Wheeler High School when she received a telephone call from her doctor who told her she had calcifications on one breast! After conferences with both the cancer surgeon and plastic surgeon, a date and time were set for the surgery - two days after her big 5-0 birthday! In the discussions with the doctors, she was told that the calcifications were only on one breast but they would move over to the other side so a bi-lateral mastectomy was scheduled as well as reconstruction. She knew she had chosen her doctor wisely when she learned that he had a private operating room at Northside with his name on the door!
Traci Hildreth, Marietta:
Traci is a long time fundraiser for the fight against breast cancer, but the fight turned personal in August of last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy just nine days before her daughter’s wedding. She is continuing her battle against breast cancer with her amazing strength and determination she is letting nothing stop her.
Cynthia Krantz, Peachtree City:
Cynthia is a Delta flight attendant. Prior to being diagnosed in 2011, she was very active in Delta’s fundraising for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) never knowing that one day she would be affected by the disease herself. She had a different type of cancer in each of her breasts and had a bilateral mastectomy. She continued to fly and shared her story with her passengers. She faced her cancer with humor, determination and faith. Her battle with breast cancer is over, at least for now, but the fight to find a cure has only just begun.
Judy Manning, Marietta:
In 1999, Judy Manning and the late Ansley Meaders founded the Pink Ribbon Classic Golf Tournament in Marietta. Over the last 14 years, the tournament has raised more than one million dollars for patient services, research, education and advocacy.
Each year Judy has served as Honorary Chair and has been actively involved with the committee. Little did we know that prior to Judy giving her customary welcome at last year’s tournament, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She participated in the entire event with her usual enthusiasm. She then had a lumpectomy and a recommended new procedure for radiation. Her follow-up appointments indicate that she is in remission. As you would expect, she is once again serving as Honorary Chair for our 15th tournament!
Susan Pearson, Kennesaw:
Susan was diagnosed in 2007 and went through chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiation. She credits having her “posse” of friends at her side during chemo treatments and the cancer journey was instrumental in her recovery. There was always laughter, music and chocolate. Susan is the human resources director for Northwest Exterminating.
Tracey Reed, Smyrna:
In 2008 Tracey, a single mom to a 3 year old was diagnosed with breast cancer. She continued her very stressful, challenging job at The Coca-Cola Company as she underwent her treatments. She immediately started participating in fundraising events and advocating for others afflicted with the disease. She candidly shares her story, answers questions and provides heart-felt support to others.
Kim Rowan, Smyrna:
In 2008, Kim decided to go for a breast augmentation consultation and in the process had to have a mammogram. She was under 40 so she had not ever had one. It was a good thing – they caught her cancer early. She had a double mastectomy, reconstruction and chemo. Not once did she let the disease take over her life. Her son, Hunter, always came first no matter what she was going through. Her advice: research your cancer, find the greatest doctors, don’t let anyone make the decisions for you, and find something to concentrate on, for her it was Hunter.
Pam Searan, Marietta:
Pam is an inspiration and role model to her family and friends. It was very important to her to keep things “normal” for her family as she went through her various treatments and surgery. She had a positive attitude throughout the entire experience. Her words of wisdom are to NEVER put off pursuing all diagnoses possible when you believe you may have cancer.
Suzy Walz, Kennesaw:
In April 2009, at 43 years old Suzy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had no family history of the disease so this was quite a shocker. It was the spring before her daughters’ senior year of high school and they were looking forward to a great summer visiting colleges together. Of course this news changed those plans! She had a bilateral mastectomy with free tram reconstruction at the same time. She had to have four more surgeries to "finish" the reconstruction, fix hernia's etc. If you could have a problem, believe you me, she had them all! About a month or so after the initial surgery she was told that she would have 4 rounds of chemotherapy. She had an allergic reaction to round 3 and turned beet red and couldn't breathe. She also had an allergic reaction to Nuelasta that boost your white count back up after chemo. Through all this she truly learned what is important in life; it is family and friends. She learned patience and a calm she had never known before. She thanks God for everyday instead of asking something of him and cherishes every birthday with all her heart.
Carol Zupancic, Smyrna:
Carol works for Delta Airlines and was diagnosed in 2007 in Salt Lake City. Because she had no family there, Delta relocated her back to Atlanta so she could be closer to family. She had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. She maintained her normal work schedule and also got very involved with Delta’s support of Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).