Thursday September 19, 2013
In 2010, Yvonne Jones and her daughter, Carly, walked in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event to help raise funds for breast cancer research and patient programs and services. Within the year, Yvonne would hear the devastating words, “You have breast cancer,” and turn to the American Cancer Society for support.
During a routine mammogram at the age of 50, a spot was discovered on Yvonne’s breast. A biopsy revealed invasive ductal carcinoma. “Receiving the cancer diagnosis was like walking into a brick wall,” said Yvonne, recalling the emotional distress. “I walked into that consulting room as one person and walked out as somebody else.”
Telling her three children, sons Sam and Matthew, and daughter, Carly, she says was incredibly difficult.
“I felt it was my responsibility to help my kids understand the diagnosis and the treatment I was going to go through,” said Yvonne, who endured a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation to rid her body of the cancer. “The diagnosis of cancer affects the whole family.”
“When my mom told me that she had breast cancer it didn’t seem real at the time,” Carly, a 16-year-old South Burlington High School junior, explained. “I never thought that anything bad would happen to her. I found it hard to talk to other people about it because I didn’t think they would understand what I was going through.”
The American Cancer Society provides free information and services to residents in every community. The Look Good Feel Better program helped teach Yvonne beauty tips for dealing with the appearance related side effects of cancer treatment. Although Yvonne was beautiful in her daughter’s eyes, despite hair loss, the class gave Yvonne renewed confidence and self-esteem.
”I was taught techniques to apply makeup and create eyebrows that disappeared during chemotherapy,” said Yvonne. “I really did feel much better.”
The community rallied behind the Jones family, providing meals, rides and emotional support. Yvonne says these acts of kindness helped get her through treatment and on her way to recovery.
“It made me realize what a tremendous impact a strong community can have,” shared Yvonne. “That is one of the reasons my daughter and I decided to get involved with Making Strides. This is a chance to continue working with our community to help other women get better treatment and prevention.”
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a noncompetitive five-mile walk, with a one-mile option, to honor breast cancer survivors and raise money to end breast cancer forever. Yvonne and Carly team up with family and friends each year to fight back in Chittenden County, raising $8,000 with their 62-member team in 2012.
“After my mom was diagnosed I was even more determined to help,” said Carly, who is among the top Making Strides fundraisers. “Being a Pacesetter to me is important because it is one step closer to accomplishing the goals of the American Cancer Society and makes me feel like I am making a difference.”
“Once you have been told you have breast cancer, you look at everything in life differently,” Yvonne said. “Having your family and friends there to support you, helps get you through it. I am stronger now and appreciate what I have and those I love. I am trying to live each and every day to the fullest.”
To support Yvonne and Carly’s team, Peace, Love, Cure, or to register for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Chittenden County on Sunday, October 20, 1 p.m., at Dorset Park, visit makingstrides.org/chittendencountyvt.
SOURCE: Lisa Osbahr, Contributor