Five-year breast cancer survivor Susan Pearson knows first-hand that a diagnosis of breast cancer is “breathtakingly frightening.” She also knows that being surrounded by friends and family is so important to getting through the cancer experience. Those are just two of the reasons Susan is participating in the American Cancer Society’s 1st Annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Cobb County, Georgia, on Saturday, October 27.
Susan is the human resources director for Northwest Exterminating, which is a sponsor of the Cobb Making Strides. Susan is captain of the company’s team of 60 to 70 people who are walking in the event, which will be held in Marietta’s historic square.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and went through chemotherapy, a mastectomy and radiation,” Susan remembers. “I was very fortunate and had fabulous doctors atPiedmontHospitaland incredible friends me who supported me every step of the way.”
“Susan and everyone at Northwest Exterminating are so passionate about the cause of breast cancer and raising funds and awareness to fight it,” says CJ Jimerson, the Society’s Making Strides Income Manager for the Cobb event. “We so appreciate all they’re doing to help move us closer to putting an end to this disease once and for all.”
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the Society’s premier breast cancer event, with hundreds of Making Strides taking place nationwide during the month of October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Cobb run/walk gets under way on October 27 with registration at 7 a.m., an inspirational opening program beginning at 7:30 a.m., and runners getting on the way at 8:15 a.m. followed by walkers at 8:20 a.m.
Susan says that having her “posse” of friends at her side during chemo treatments and the cancer journey was instrumental in her recovery. There was always laughter, music and chocolate, she says.
“We decided that was the way we were going to get through this,” Susan remembers. “We were going to play music, watch movies, eat chocolate and talk and laugh our way through the chemo and everything else along the way. My doctor supported what we were doing. The nurses would even come in and join us. I think the attitude, how we handled everything, kept me from getting sick from chemo. I never really felt bad, and I think it’s because my doctor never led me to think I would and because my friends and family just kept the fun and laughs coming no matter what.”
She also recalls how she dealt with her hair falling out after starting chemo – “hats, lots of hats that arrived from everywhere after I decided that I wasn’t a ‘wig person.’
“My sister-in-law emailed people all over the country about my hair falling out, and baseball hats just started pouring in from everywhere. So I just wore hats. I have a job that allows me to wear hats to work. And then when my hair started to grow back, co-workers told me how good my hair looked short and gray. So I left that as it was, too.”
Meanwhile, the Northwest team is on track to raise more than $6,000 for the Cobb Making Strides. Team members have held numerous fundraisers, including selling pork roasts barbecued by the manager of the Newnan Northwest office. That fundraiser alone netted $3,300. Every day in October, Northwest staff can wear jeans to work by donating $1 for the day, and there’s a company t-shirt available for a $10 donation.
For more information on the Cobb Making Strides, visit www.makingstrideswalk.org