HICKORY, NC (September 12, 2017)…The 2017 Susan G. Komen Northwest North Carolina (NWNC) Foothills Race for the Cure® will be held on Saturday, September 30, at LP Frans Stadium to kick-off breast cancer awareness month this year. As the Race preparations are being completed, it is important to reflect and remember why this Race is held every year.
Every year, Honorary Race Chairs are selected for the Komen Race. The Honorary Race Chairs must be breast cancer survivors, who have made a difference in their communities. This year, Martha Clifton was selected to be the Face of Breast Cancer and this year’s Honorary Race Chair. Clifton is one of the many reasons and “Faces” to remember and honor for anyone who participates in this Race by running/walking, volunteering, and contributing. She is a survivor.
Martha’s story in her words:
It was June 2009, and I was having an annual physical, when my doctor detected a place in my right breast that she didn’t feel good about. I had just had a mammogram six months before that was clear. One week later, on the day before my eighth wedding anniversary and three days before my fiftieth birthday, I was diagnosed with stage one invasive lobular breast cancer. My husband, Jay, and I were in shock. It was so hard to tell my mother, who was already so worried about my sister-in-law, Kathryn, as she had been diagnosed with breast cancer three months prior, and was in the middle of chemo treatments. I felt so horrible having to give such scary news to the people that I love. I can remember how I kept apologizing for it.
From the moment we learned the cancer news, it was like we were on a runaway train. I have another comparison… Do you remember when you were a child, and would be at the beach and get knocked down by a wave, and would panic trying to find which way was up? Well that was ME!
Jay and I immediately knew that prayer, and God’s strength, would be where we went for guidance. It was just a given. There were so many decisions to make and we knew this was far bigger than the two of us.
In the days to come we found out that I was also HER 2 Positive, estrogen and progesterone positive. Being diagnosed as a triple positive, I chose to draw assurances that we had several angles from which to attack my cancer.
An element of my job is being a special projects manager. My approach to this battle became something that I treated as one of my biggest projects I had ever tried to manage. I began to treat doctor appointments, as often as possible, like a business meeting. Jay and I would always prepare with our list of questions. He went with me to every appointment that I had.
I opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, which I had that July, and began chemotherapy and Herceptin infusions in August. I did not have to have radiation. I had six chemo treatments, lasting 18 weeks, as well as 52 weeks of Herceptin infusions.
I was not without a list of complications throughout treatment. I had eight surgeries in 18 months, due to infections and other things.
It is important for me to share with you, that through my journey, I have grown so much and my marriage has grown so much. I have met so many people fighting their breast cancer battle and it is so important to me to offer them encouragement and support.
I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be. Seven years later, I am surviving and surviving is winning!
Press Release courtesy of Dana Kaminske, NC Foothills Public Relations Chair