One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer; Patty Brooks, 39, of Biddeford was one of them. She’s a daughter, wife and mom and when she discovered a lump last year, she was shocked and frightened. Upon hearing the news she was immediately comforted by nurse navigator Helene Langley, RN, at Southern Maine Medical Center’s (SMMC) Center for Breast Care. Brooks stated, “It was the scariest phone call I have ever received. Helene and Peggy (Belanger, RN, Cancer Care Coordinator) guided me and my family through the tough road ahead and truly helped me feel like a survivor, not a victim.”
On Saturday, June 29, the 3rd Annual “Be Healthy” 5K Run/Walk to benefit cancer survivors of the SMHC Center for Breast Care will take place on the Eastern Trail adjacent to SMHC. The run begins at 9:00 a.m. and the walk begins at 10:00 a.m. Participants can pre-register online at www.smmc.org or www.active.com or register the day of the event. Food and prizes will be provided.
Brooks was no stranger to breast cancer. Her mom was diagnosed in 1999 and she had been having yearly mammograms since she was 30. Unfortunately, her lump did not show up on the mammogram. She had a biopsy in July 2012 and was told she had Stage 1 breast cancer. In September, she underwent bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery, escaped chemotherapy and radiation and is currently on medication for five years.
“I had just left a high-stress job and decided to take some time for me. I began training for a 5K and enjoying some time with my family,” stated Brooks. “When I went back to work, I wanted to do something that was a passion and less stressful. I was scheduled for an interview on the same day I received the news. In shock, I tried to stay positive and proceeded with the interview. I was hired and they were wonderful when I told them a month later that I would need some time off for surgery.
“During the process, I was fortunate to have Helene and Peggy with me. I try to approach life with a little humor and they were very happy, supportive and calm individuals. At appointments they would capture all the details because even though I was listening, I always seemed to have questions later. The support group was phenomenal and provided me an opportunity to hear other survivors’ stories.
“Many of us know at least one woman, probably many, who have been touched or even devastated by this frightening disease. Last year I walked the 5K two weeks after my surgery and I vowed if I was healthy enough I would run the next one. This year I am feeling better and am training to run my second 5K as a way to give back for the wonderful care I received at SMHC. I invite others to join me and other breast cancer survivors in our community at the ‘Be Healthy’ 5K Run/Walk on June 29.”
For more information on the SMHC “Be Healthy” 5K Run/Walk, please contact the SMHC Development Office at 207-283-7238.
About Southern Maine Medical Center
Southern Maine Medical Center (SMMC) is a national award-winning healthcare system, including a 150-bed acute care medical center in Biddeford, Maine, offering excellent clinical care and a multi-specialty physician services group with medical offices providing outpatient care located in Biddeford, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach and Saco. Non-emergency care is available without an appointment seven days a week at SMHC’s Walk-In Care center in Saco. SMHC is Joint Commission accredited, Pathway to Excellence designated, state-licensed, and is a member of Southern Maine Medical Center and the MaineHealth system. To learn more visit www.smmc.org or @SMMCHealth.