We Walk BeCAUSE
We walk together to stand with those going through a diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer, to honor those who have fought breast cancer and won, and to remember those we lost too soon. 100% of funds raised for Come Walk With Me benefit breast health programs at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital.
Here are some of the ways your funds help our community:
- Establish a free/reduced fee mammography program through Her Peace of Mind. For more information call 253-697-4927
- Resource kits for newly diagnosed patients
- Post-surgical camisoles with built-in drainage, provided to patients at no cost
- Wigs for patients in treatment
- Prosthesis programs for under-insured
- Presentations to various community groups on breast health
- Lymphedema classes and support groups
- Exercise and nutrition classes specifically for breast cancer patients
As a young mother of two toddlers, Ivey had her hands plenty of full. She was a proud wife to a soldier and acted as the Family Readiness Group Leader for over 300 soldiers and their families, making sure every family member is taken care of in addition to hosting monthly events. When Ivey’s husband returned from deployment in Iraq, they decided to have one more baby. Freshly pregnant with their third child, Ivey found a painful lump in her left breast.
As Ivey had recently stopped breast feeding her one year old son, she thought the lump was just a clogged milk duct and scheduled an appointment with her OBGYN. Her doctor referred her for an ultrasound. Ivey didn’t wait; she drove to the office without setting up an appointment and asked for the ultrasound. Following the ultrasound, a biopsy was scheduled a few days later. At this point Ivey was prepared for the worst. And within five days, she got the bad news: in her first trimester with her third child and at the age of 28, Ivey had breast cancer.
Ivey immediately said “Ok so what do we do now?” She wanted a plan. While her husband was still reeling from the news, Ivey was told a surgeon would call within the next few days with the next steps and they were sent home. As they walked to the car, Ivey looked at her husband and said with incredible strength, “We are not going to cry over this or think 'poor me'. We have two children that need their parents to act normal, like nothing is going on.” Ivey refused to be a victim of cancer; she knew that the only way to conquer this was to fight.
When Ivey met her surgeon, she was also introduced to Donna Banks, the Breast Health Coordinator at Good Sam. At first, Ivey wondered why there was a second person accompanying the surgeon into the room; she did not want to share this with anyone other than those who needed to know. The surgeon gave Ivey a few options and after a quick thought, Ivey said, “Take it away.” The surgeon thought she was joking because she hadn’t taken much time to weigh her options. But Ivey said, “We can do it today, I do not care.” The surgeon responded that they could schedule the mastectomy the following day or in three weeks. Without a second thought Ivey said, “Tomorrow. I do not want it to spread any further.”
With Donna’s help, Ivey got organized for what the next day would bring; she provided a bag filled with comforting pink ribbon gifts and pamphlets about breast cancer. Donna explained the process of what the next few days would entail: the surgery, the recovery process, and provided Ivey with a new type of bra that would hold her drains after the surgery. Ivey found comfort that Donna would be with her every step of the way; to speak with, at doctor appointments, or to email at any given time.
In addition to the mastectomy, Ivey had 28 lymph nodes removed; 19 were cancerous.
Ivey found comfort in the programs and services offered at the Resource Center, received a complimentary wig, and checked out books to help her talk to her five year old daughter about what was happening.
Ivey was one strong woman who wanted other breast cancer patients out there to know, “You can beat this. Do not let this defeat you. If you need to cry, do it. The people here will take care of you. They will stick by your side and they will give you all the compassion in the world. I know when I walk in there I do not feel that I am pitied, but I do feel support. And if I ever feel that I am getting scared, they let me know it’s ok and they work with me at my pace.”
Sadly, on January 7, 2015, Ivey lost her courageous battle to breast cancer. She will be greatly missed by her Come Walk With Me friends.
A retired Boeing Engineer who enjoys hiking and running, Cheryl Wells has always been vigilant with her health and never missed a routine checkup. It was a shock when Cheryl found a lump while doing a self breast exam. A mammogram led to an ultrasound which resulted in a biopsy. Then came the news no one wants to hear: cancer.
As a single woman, Cheryl wondered what her cancer journey would bring and speculated how she would make it on her own. But on the very day that Cheryl met her oncologist, she was also introduced to Good Samaritan’s Breast Health Coordinator Donna Banks. Donna is a resource for patients throughout their breast cancer battle, from arming newly diagnosed patients with resources and helping them navigate the choices in physicians and treatment plans to assisting patients with post-surgical needs like providing camisoles with drainage tube and wigs at no cost.
True to her mission, Donna made an impression on Cheryl that first day, providing a bag of information along with a promise that Cheryl would never be alone in her diagnosis. Knowing Donna was just a phone call away for support meant a lot to Cheryl. “Donna's team felt like family, cheering me on,” she said.
Donna also connected Cheryl to the Cancer Resource Center and the monthly Woman's Cancer Support Group. Through the support group, Cheryl met other women who were championing their own battles. Cheryl says, “Those women changed something inside of me. They taught me to fight harder. I learned to reach out and accept any words of encouragement. The hugs and solid words from Donna and her team saved my life; saved my inner person. They taught me to never give up hope, to never throw in the towel. To hold my bald little head up and smile no matter what.”