MAKING STRIDES !!
Making strides is a Free Event this Saturday in DTLA that provides early detection and prevention information and is also a Celebration of Survivors!!
Please come join us this Saturday for the event!!
For more information, see our story on the event this Saturday from 8 AM – 12 PM at the convention center.
Some breast cancer statistics :
- A woman living in the US has a 12% lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
- In 2017, an estimated 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women.
- More than 3.5 million US women with a history of breast cancer were alive on January 1, 2016.
Two of those survivors are Lolita Lopez, NBC4 Reporter and Erika Sears, who is a 3rd Grade Teacher at Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus in Pasadena, California.
Lolita Lopez joined NBC4 Southern California as a general assignment reporter in 2011. She can be seen weekly reporting for NBC4 news at 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Her most recent news stories can be viewed here and see her Bio.
DIAGNOSIS & REACTION
Her cancer was diagnosed 18 months after she joined NBC4 in 2011, when she discovered a lump in her right breast, while doing a self-check.
As a former Division 1 college athlete who stayed in shape she was “Surprised and shocked“.
About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer and neither did Lolita. Although there wasn’t a family history of breast cancer, her mother and grandmother had cervical cancer as younger women.
Since this history of cancer had never been discussed in her family, Lolita then became determined to raise awareness about her journey battling breast cancer so “others, particularly Latinas, would feel more comfortable talking about their struggle and sharing with their family and friends.”
She stresses that having an ongoing conversation with your doctor is important and opted for six months of chemotherapy and removal of both the diseased and healthy breasts with concurrent reconstruction.
In her mind, a double mastectomy wasn’t radical and provided “peace of mind”. She was comfortable with the decision to look good with reconstruction and a lower risk of recurrence. She’s also taking 10 years of medication to reduce recurrence.
For her, it is important to try and maintain as normal a life as possible throughout treatment. She worked closely with her doctor to tailor a treatment plan that worked with daily life.
Wanting to be on the air at NBC4 for daily stories and talk about her journey, she only missed work on Chemotherapy days. NBC4 also supported her when she created a five-part series chronicling her journey. You can watch those stories here.
MOST DIFFICULT PART
She says the most difficult part was something always in the back of her mind: “dealing with what could be ‘the worst’”.
While dealing with the realities of treatment, tests and the future, she says that making sure to stay positive, “can be the most difficult part of the journey”. But staying positive is also what kept her “feeling powerful, strong and determined to live every day to the fullest.”
ADVICE FOR WOMEN FACING BREAST CANCER
She advises women in her situation:
“Several things: Be your own team captain. You drive the treatment. You drive the conversation of how you and your family will handle cancer. Ask questions — ask lots of questions. Nothing is “normal.” Everything is personal. You are in charge.“
WHY DOES SHE KEEP COMING BACK TO MAKING STRIDES?!!
She has been hosting and kicking off the walk at Making Strides for several years with NBC4 as a sponsor and says it’s wonderful to have such a supportive employer who helps share her story and provides such a huge platform to raise awareness about the cause.
Her favorite part is having NBC4 family with her walking and also, Anchor Carolyn Johnson, one of her colleagues who also faced breast cancer in recent years. She enjoys that NBC4’s sister station Telemundo 52 is also a sponsor and helps them grow their presence.
She looks forward to the many women she’ll meet at Making Strides LA and the unique comradery they share.
She says it’s also an “important day to celebrate those who have fought hard and survived, and to honor those we have lost due to this terrible disease. It’s particularly special to see entire families come out, including dads, husbands, sons and brothers, to support loved ones.”
Congratulations Lolita and see you Saturday !!
DIAGNOSIS & REACTION
Erika Sears is a teacher at Mayfield Junior School of the Holy Child Jesus, in Pasadena, California. After watching friends battle breast cancer in their 30s she decided to be proactive and get her first mammogram upon turning 40 last year.
After the mammogram, a radiologist informed her that something suspicious required more testing. What she had originally thought would be a routine chat turned into stage 3 invasive lobular cancer.
After diagnosis she says:
” my heart dropped, I was overwhelmed with thoughts: “How would my three kids react?” “What would my husband do if I died?” Once I had my surgery, a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation, I knew I could get through it, one step of at time.”
EXPERIENCE WITH WEIGHT WATCHERS
Erika says that one of the biggest changes during her journey was weight gain. She didn’t’ realize that her taste and appetite would so dramatically change.
Previously being a members of Weight Watchers before, she knew the program would help her on her journey. Working with a personal coach, they created an action plan for each week based on how she was feeling.
Valuing living life to the fullest, she continues to eat healthy and run and looks forward to her next X-marathon.
IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORT
Erika says a “a silver lining of a breast cancer diagnosis is all the support around you that you didn’t necessarily notice before. ”
Tragedy allows you to see all the love and support around you. She says “everyone has cheered her on!” Her Weight Watchers family, family, friend and co-workers; they’ve all been incredibly supportive.
She further points highlights:
“Weight Watchers has collaborated with the American Cancer Society to develop Project L.I.F.T.- Live Inspired. Fight Together- to help inspire and guide people like me and all of you, and that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to inspire this community to educate themselves and live healthier lifestyles.”
ADVICE FOR OTHERS
Erika’s advice to others:
“Be open and share your story. Be open about our struggles, it can really help others!”
See you Saturday Ericka and Congratulations !!