Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Anne Marie's Story

With Breast Cancer Awareness month upon us, I am reminded of my dear friend Anne Marie Quillin, who has survived breast cancer four times over the last 12 years. Annie is a happily married mother of three teenagers and has undergone a myriad of treatments (surgery, reconstruction, chemo, radiation, gene therapy, clinical trials and Gamma knife radioactive surgery). Talk about a survivor!

I met Annie 10 years ago when my daughter started Kindergarten and we had just moved into the neighborhood. Not knowing many moms in the area, she was one of the first to introduce herself and tell me about a new bunco group she was starting. She invited me to join and that’s where I learned about this inspiring woman and her battle with this disease.

Annie’s mother, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was seven years old. Her mother fought the disease and even had a recurrence when Annie was 13. Her mother’s illness and death lead to Annie’s fervent belief that early detection is one of the greatest weapons against this disease. She began having mammograms at the early age of 27 and at 37 she was diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer.

When Annie was first diagnosed her doctor told her about several support groups and educational programs offered through The Wellness Community. She found the groups to be a welcoming place where she could talk about her fears and gain the information she needed to help make her own medical decisions. Annie is grateful for and has relied upon the support of other cancer patients to share their journey, family and medical experiences as each breast cancer obstacle has arisen.

Just as Annie has been fortunate to receive the gift of support from others, I am fortunate to have the gift of her friendship! Annie is an inspiration to so many in my community and I admire all that she does.

Annie will be sharing her story of strength and resilience at the annual Girl’s Night Out event hosted by The Wellness Community at the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, CA this week. Sockprints will be there to honor those courageous women who face this disease. We’ll post some pictures from this great event and also tell you about a special offer as a fun way to support the cause.

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