Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Woman to Woman: Breast Cancer Survivors
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The statistics are frightening -- every 12 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer -- more than 200 thousand women will develop the disease this year alone. But in tonight's Woman To Woman report, we're introducing you to some inspiring women who are facing this deadly disease head on.
(WSVN) -- Cancer Survivor Patrice Shawe says, "In the beginning it's the most frightening thing you'll ever hear."
Cancer Survivor Karin Koffsays, "I'm a two time cancer survivor."
Casey Portnoy says, "It was my worst fear, had come to reality."
She adds, "I was so terrified that I would die."
Three women with one major thing in common -- a battle with Breast Cancer -- a fight for their lives.
Patrice says, "You hear the word cancer and your mind goes blank and the room starts to spin and you just don't hear anything else after that, so it was very scary."
Terrifying for Patrice Shawe -- the thought of leaving her two little girls without a mother... of never seeing them again -- devastating -- then the difficult decision -- having to tell her little ones mommy had cancer -- Her advice to other mothers... its best if they hear it from you.
Karin says, "We did sit down with out children and talked with them because we felt that honesty was the best policy and they should hear it from us."
Karin Koff -- a two-time survivor -- now counsels other women with cancer -- she says its crucial women realize they're not the only ones affected by the deadly disease.
She says, "Cancer does not just happen to the person who is diagnosed, it happens to the whole family."
Thankfully there are places cancer patients can go for emotional support... no one knows better what they're going through that people who have gone through the same experience. At this home in Broward women, men and children coping with cancer can come and once they enter this red door they realize they are no longer alone.
This is Gilda's Club -- a place where cancer patients can talk with other patients about what they're going through and to survivors. They can bring their family members here including their children to give them a better understanding of what they're experiencing. inside this home women have planned their funerals something special for their families... others... survivors have planned parties with the ultimate reason to celebrate.
Women like Casey Portnoy -- who's physical appearance may have been altered -- both her breasts removed -- but her spirit continues to grow. A free makeover by Coco's in Aventura to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month making Casey smile a bit brighter... but its her will to live that keeps that smile alive long after the manicure grows out.
Casey says, "I'm so happy to be alive, I'm so glad I get to go on."
Karin says, "There has never been one cancer that someone didn't survive from."
Patrice says, "I'm a gift and I'm grateful I have a purpose now."
You too can make a difference -- before the week is over, pick up the phone and call a friend or perhaps your sister -- or walk over to a female co-worker -- remind them of the importance of having a mammogram or self-test done. You can help save a life and make a difference in the lives of their loved ones.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Gilda's Club South Florida
119 Rose Drive
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
"I CAN" Program - Six session family counseling
2699 Stirling Road
Suite A 105
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
The Cancer Research Network
Dr. Charles Vogel & Dr. Alejandra Perez
350 NW 84th Avenue
Plantation, FL 33324
Ford's 2003 "Get Tied To The Cause" limited-edition Breast Cancer Awareness Silk Scarf available at Bloomingdale's till supplies last.
-All net proceeds from scarf sales benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation