Stories of Local Impact
A response from one Utah breast cancer patient: “I just received my chemo care bag from the Rack Pack Foundation and I wanted to thank you so much! This bag has everything you would ever need during and after chemo treatments, and I was so touched by the love and care put into the bag. What pushed me over the edge to crying was the gas card. That means more than you could ever know. Times like this are so rough on a person and by providing this service for people in need you have made the battle that much easier! Thank you with all my heart and may God bless you every day.”
“My name is Maria Tereza Quiroz and I was born in Uruguay. I was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 50 while living in South America. I had surgery and chemotherapy treatment, as well as regular follow-up mammograms. Ten years ago my husband and I moved to the United States to be with our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Soon after we arrived in Utah, I had a medical exam at the Intermountain Pamela J. Atkinson health clinic, where I received information about getting mammograms at no cost through the IHC program.
“In December of 2011, I had a routine follow-up mammogram. I was not concerned at all because I expected the results to be good. But the doctor saw something abnormal in the results. I had another mammogram done and an ultrasound exam, with the same abnormal findings. The doctor did a biopsy, and two days later my granddaughter helped me call for the results. He told us they found cancer. Soon afterward another doctor told me the worst news of my life: he said that he needs to remove my breasts. I got the surgery done right away. I am now in treatment with the oncologist for the next five years.
“I want to give thanks to all the doctors, medical staff, and especially to IHC who supported me in my medical treatment to fight breast cancer. Because I have received medical treatment at no cost for the last ten years, today I am survivor of breast cancer and can enjoy wonderful times with my family. I share my story in hope that all the women of the world can have assistance from programs like IHC, and have regular medical exams so that this terrible disease can be detected early.”
“Rokia is one of our patients. I first met with her to share breast health information and schedule her mammogram. She received a call back for a suspicious finding, returned for a diagnostic ultrasound and breast biopsy which, fortunately, revealed that the breast lesion was benign. She was extremely relieved, and could not say enough about how much she appreciated the opportunity to be screened and to learn that she did not have breast cancer. She told me that no one had ever provided her with information about breast cancer, nor advised her to have a mammogram even though she was in her early sixties. Her very supportive husband was also grateful and thanked me numerous times for making this available to his wife. Rokia was willing and eager to share her story, hoping that it would help someone else.
“This experience simply reinforces how important it is to offer education and screening services to the minority and low income members of our community. Thanks to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, individuals like Rokia receive quality information and screening services.”
“My name is Cori Wahlin, and I am a breast cancer survivor from Herriman, Utah. My family has a history of breast cancer, and I grew up knowing breast cancer would be in my future. I spent my childhood and teenage years assuming I would die of breast cancer, and die young. I lost my mother at the age of 46. She lost her mother at the age of 39.
“When I was 28 years old, I found out I’m BRCA2 positive. I was able to join The High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Through generous grants from Komen, I was able to start getting yearly mammograms even though I didn’t meet the minimum age set by my health insurance provider. In October 2011, my mammogram was abnormal and I was called in for a biopsy. I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). I was 34 years old. My cancer was staged 0, and I had a bilateral mastectomy in November 2011.
“Surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists all agree that I can now consider myself cancer free. Without the yearly grants from Komen, I would not have been able to be proactive about mammograms. I certainly would not have been able to catch my breast cancer at such an early stage. As far as I’m concerned, Komen saved my life. Thank you. Those two words are not enough to express my deep gratitude, but they are all I have. Thank you. Thank you so much.”