S U R V I V O R S
& T H R I V E R S
More Than Pink™ celebrates the heroes who have made a significant impact in the fight to end breast cancer. Whether you’re the survivors and thrivers who never give up, the doctor who won’t give up on a patient, the volunteer who gives their time to ensure Race for the Cure goes off without a hitch, or the child who sells lemonade in honor a mother or grandmother; More Than Pink will provide the inspiration for everyone to act, donate, and get involved.
Vikki has been Race for the Cure participant for 2 years going strong! We are thrilled to share her story!
If you have ever walked in to the Wards Corner Walgreens in the evening, you would most likely be greeted by Vikki. Vikki is always smiling, and when she greets you, it’s clear that it’s genuine! If you had a bad day or were not feeling well she can definitely lift your spirits.
Little would you know that Vikki is a 15 year breast cancer survivor, and that she has participated in Susan G. Komen Tidewater Race for the Cure 5k for last 2 years with the Walgreens team. When asked why she races, she said she wanted to bring more attention to breast cancer. Everything she had been through during her journey was an experience that she thought other women could benefit from.
It all began after she found a lump 3 months after a clear mammogram. The first doctor she saw suggested a radical mastectomy. Vikki wasn’t comfortable with that so she got a second opinion from Dr. Claire Carman. Vikki ended up having a partial mastectomy after a lumpectomy was not possible because the doctor could not get a clear margin.
Vikki already knew that it wasn’t enough to just do a self-exam once a month but how important it was to know what was normal for her body. She believes that early detection was the key to her survival. She lives the Komen Action Steps: Know Your Risk, Get Screened, Know What is Normal For You, and Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices.
Vikki told us how difficult the first year of her journey was, especially going through chemo. The physical aspect of chemo was very hard of course, but emotionally, she shared with us (holding back tears) about the experience of going through chemo with people who became friends, and then losing some of those people to the disease. Having something in common with another individual, even cancer, created a bond between them. Vikki also talked about some of the lasting effects of some of the medicines she took during her treatment like Tamoxifen. She wears motion sickness wristbands because she still gets nauseous.
When asked her if she was ever anxious about a recurrence, she giggled and said, “I live the Scarlett O’Hara existence, I won’t think about it today. If I think about it today I will just go crazy. I will think about it tomorrow because tomorrow is another day.”
We are glad she is with us today!
Written by her daughter Amanda (in the 2nd photo on the right)
Sonia and her family have been Race for the Cure participants for 7 years! We are honored to share this inspirational story of strength.
2009 was a very rough year in the Gomez household. My parents decided that they were going to get divorced, but the real kicker was that was the year we found out that my mother had breast cancer. In our family, our mother is our rock, the head honcho, and everything in between. My sister and I always thought that she was invincible, nothing could stand in her way, and we would have her until she was very old, wrinkly, and gray. This news obviously devastated anyone that knows her, but despite all of the fear and sadness, my mother maintained such a positive and powerful attitude. She immediately quit smoking cigarettes and started researching everything and anything to do with breast cancer. She was so well-versed for her next doctor’s visit and always had such a calm about her.
She never once showed us any sign of fear and was always telling us these positive points of view. My sister and I were scared for our mother, but we were also scared for selfish reasons. Our mother ended up not being able to get a lumpectomy and had to have a mastectomy instead. Admittedly, she was upset because little do we know; our breasts do give us a sense of femininity and part of our identity. However, she immediately began research on breast implants and how to alter her physical appearance with simple things like different bras, scarves, and various articles of clothing. My sister and I learned to be more accommodating, especially when life throws such strong curve balls our way. We learned how to always be optimistic despite the many unknowns of life and the world. Our mother taught us that being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t scared, but that you are willing to step up to the plate no matter what lies ahead of you. She taught us that our physical appearance is not what makes us who we are, it is our outlook on life, our actions, and our attitude that shapes us as people.
Beauty truly is only skin deep, but God has blessed us with a mother who is beautiful both inside and out.