The 21st annual Avera Race Against Breast Cancer is coming up on May 9th. Last year the race raised $280,000 and every penny raised stays locally to support patients, survivors, and their families. Here's more on a breast cancer survivor and fighter who is benefiting from the race in more ways than one.
Darla Jacobson says, "You guys, I'm doing awesome. I have to tell you, I really am."
And I have to tell you Darla Jacobson is looking awesome too. In 2006, at the age of only 32, Darla was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a bi-lateral mastectomy, underwent chemo therapy, radiation and reconstructive surgery. It was a tough year. 2007 was a healing year.
Darla says, " I didn't want to have any regrets and I still don't. I'm living with it and I'm doing well."
In August of 2008, at her 6 month check-up, she got devastating news. A terrible pain in her right hip turned out to be cancer.
Darla says, "They found the breast cancer had metastasized to the bone. The really good thing about it is it's in my bones. People can live a really long time with it in their bones. It's crazy, I know, to find the sunshine in that. "
If anyone could find the bright spot in anything it's Darla. Early this year she and 2 other "Pink Ladies" (the women featured every year on the Avera posters to promote breast cancer awareness) attended the2009 Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer Conference in Dallas. She was among 800 people there for the three day conference and the money raised from the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer paid for their trip.
Darla says, "The conference for me was comforting being around a lot of young women who have or are dealing with it knowing I'm not alone. There is hope. I wanted to stand up and thank the doctors for what they are doing."
You'll find that same aura of hope at the race. Last year a record 4700 people showed up to walk, run and cheer others on.
Sarah Cady with the Avera McKennan Foundation says, "With the money we've raised we can pay for our breast health navigator, a dietician, we also have a cancer fitness program, a wig program, our cancer resource library. The benefits are endless."
As for Darla, she's optimistic the hormone therapy she is on will continue to provide her great quality of life as well as prolong it. She's hopeful a cure will be found before her 5 year old daughter will ever have to worry her pretty little head. I hope so too. Darla and I and Phil Schreck hope to see you at the race!
The Avera Race Against Breast Cancer Saturday morning May 9th at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center at 8:00. If you don't want to walk or run you can still go the extra mile by donating online or registering at www.AveraThinkPink.org