I was always a very active person. I was either at the gym working out or running my three boys around to their various events. I ate organic fruits and vegetables (LOTS of vegetables) and very little meat. I was also an avid runner, and ran my first marathon in 2015 in Chicago.
Just a few weeks after completing the marathon, my world was turned upside down. On November 19, 2015, I discovered a lump in my breast. I didn’t think much of it and figured it would just go away. A couple of weeks later the lump remained and with the constant nagging of my husband I agreed to go to the doctor.
With my excellent health and lack of family history, no one suspected cancer. After a mammogram, ultrasound, and a biopsy for a “cyst,” I heard the words I thought I would never hear: “You have cancer.” At first, I thought they must be wrong, that my results had gotten mixed up with someone else’s.
I’m only 36 years old, this kind of thing doesn’t happen to someone like me. I was one of “those people” who believed that just because I did x, y, z, I would never have to deal with any major health issues.
After the initial shock wore off, I made the choice to tackle my diagnosis head on. I completed six rounds of chemotherapy and had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. Even though I got cancer despite my healthy habits, those same habits helped to keep me strong to fight cancer, and my doctors believed my healthy lifestyle kept my cancer from being worse than it was. I still believe in healthy eating and staying active as a means of prevention, but I now know that genetics play a big part in your health, too. I tested positive for the ATM gene.
I first heard about Bright Pink from a fellow member of my running group, who ran the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon as a charity runner for Bright Pink. When I read about the organization I knew immediately that the next time I ran the Chicago Marathon it would be for Bright Pink. I love that Bright Pink focuses on educating women about how they can be proactive to prevent cancer or detect it early.
I learned a lot about breast cancer this past year, but I wish I had the knowledge that Bright Pink provides earlier.
I decided to run the 2017 Chicago Marathon as a charity runner for Bright Pink because I believe knowledge is power. My goal is to help other women learn about breast cancer prevention and early detection so that one day no woman will ever have to go through what I did.
Join Felicia and help Bright Pink empower women to live proactively by signing up for the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with Team Bright Pink.