Donna Petty - Dancing With The Survivors

by The Pink Fund

Why I DANCE

I was diagnosed with State 3C Lobular Breast Cancer in March 2015. I feel like that year of my life is just a blur with all the activities of treatment. My days were consumed with chemotherapy and finding tricks that helped me to cope with the side effect. After chemo I went on to a double mastectomy and radiation – ringing the bell on December 28th 2015 to signify the end of treatment and no evidence of disease! Through all of the treatment, I was fortunate to be able to continue working only taking 2 weeks off for my surgery.  

In January 2016 I was ready for a fresh start! My follow up blood work and scans showed no evidence of disease-how wonderful! I knew that my situation of continuing with work and a steady income was unique, as most women lose their job, suffer severe loss of income and benefits. I was healthy and ready to give back! I was approached by the Pink Fund in 2017 to be a participant in their Dancing with the Survivor’s event, I gladly accepted. In this endeavor I was paired with Donald, a wonderful dance professional from Fred Astaire Dance Studio. We met weekly to work on choreographing the dance routine and practicing for the big night! In early September, preparations were in full swing for our Foxtrot routine, I had my dress, shoes and bling ready to dazzle the floor in less than 30 days. Then the results from my scans came back. The pain that I experienced in my back was not from the exercise or the dancing that I had been doing, but from a recurrence of the cancer. I had graduated from Stage 3C to Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. The cancer had traveled to my spine. The show went on and at the event, I shared my news of the progression of the disease.

Getting the news the first time that you have cancer is to say the least, devastating. Many view it as a death sentence. Then through treatment for the first diagnosis and hearing NED = no evidence of disease, you begin living again and finding your own “new normal” life is good again. When you get the diagnosis of metastatic it is a bit tougher to come to terms with, especially when you hear that there is no cure and that you will be in treatment for the rest of your life. The first question that I had is “How long will the rest of my life be?” My doctor wouldn’t (couldn’t) give me an answer to this as each person reacts differently to treatment. The unknown, the abyss is what I felt like I was in. I was devastated until I got educated. The education that helped me, while there is no cure, there are treatments. The treatments don’t cure the cancer – that is a fact, however they can thwart the growth of the cancer with the hope of putting it into remission for a long time. I have progressed three times since the metastatic diagnosis in 2017, have changed treatment and work to manage the side effects of the treatments. The good news for me has been that when one treatment becomes ineffective there are other treatments available that can be tried and new therapies being developed all the time! Just like the first time around, I am still working and living life with a grateful heart!

I am dancing for The Pink Fund because I believe in their mission of helping women and providing hope. The Pink Fund delivers hope when things seem impossible by furnishing financial assistance for women that are in current treatment. The main fund raising event for The Pink Fund has been disrupted due to COVID-19. Please join me in providing hope to those that are undergoing treatment during these uncertain times.


ABOUT THE PINK FUND

The Pink Fund provides financial support to help meet basic needs, decrease stress levels, and allow breast cancer patients in active treatment to focus on healing while improving survivorship outcomes. The Pink Fund’s 90-day grant program allows breast cancer patients to meet their critical expenses for housing, transportation, utilities, and insurance. 

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