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Honoring Western New Yorkers Who Have Battled Breast Cancer — Read Their Stories [PICTURES]

During the month of October, 96.1 Joy FM will be honoring breast cancer survivors and remembering your loved ones who have passed away from the disease. Read on to find out more about some amazing Western New Yorkers.

If you would like us to honor a friend or family member, you can send us some information about the person.

OCTOBER 17, 2012

Karen Milligan
Karen Milligan

Deborah Miller tells us about her mother, Irene Milligan, and her sister, Karen Milligan.

I honor my mom Irene and my sister Karen. Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40s. Unfortunately, the cancer metastasized, and she passed away at the young age of 53. It is now 37 years later, and I continue to hold many memories of her in my heart. I’ll always remember her as a loving mother and a truly beautiful person. My sister, a 13-year breast cancer survivor, passed away almost a year ago at age 57. Karen endured more than anyone ever should, and yet she never complained, and her attitude was always positive. She made people around her feel good. We were very close, and I miss her dearly.

OCTOBER 11, 2012

Joyce Digati shared with us the story of her best friend, Mary Casper.

My best friend Mary survived breast cancer six years ago. [At] the beginning of 2012, she found a mass and went to Roswell and was diagnosed again with breast cancer in the opposite breast. She has had an amazing attitude through the entire chemo treatment. She would bake cookies and make homemade candy for all the nurses, patients and doctors to enjoy and take them with her the day she had chemo. Mary would do this every time she had a treatment. She has finished her chemo and has scheduled her surgery for November. Her amazing attitude and kindness to all the other people is just a small part of her wonderful personality.We should all have someone this strong and caring as part of our lives. Thank you, Mary, for being my friend. God bless you.

OCTOBER 9, 2012

Mary Stefano
Mary Stefano

I’d like to take today to talk about my mom, Mary Stefano.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, just before I finished eighth grade. It caught us all by surprise because she’s basically the most health-conscious person in our family, and it seemed crazy that this disease could even affect someone like her. Luckily, the doctors caught it early, so after surgery and a round of chemo, she was cancer-free by late 2002/early 2003. I guess she looks back on it with some humor now, because she always tells people she had “little-C cancer.”

Oh, and today (October 9) is her 57th birthday — so happy birthday, Mom!

***

OCTOBER 8, 2012

Karen Vitale told us about her sister, Christine Walas.

My sister has survived two bouts with BRCA cancer of the milk ducts. She advocates for others and encouraged all her sisters (six) to be tested. She worked through the chemo and surgery, including the reconstruction. [She] never complains and is an inspiration. Recently, I visited her in Brussels, and we decided it isn’t always what you eat, but what’s eating you. Attitude is the key!

***

Joanne Sperrazza submitted the story of her sister, Linda Lunetta.

Linda is my sister, who is a survivor of breast cancer for six years now. She had an amazing attitude and courage during her most difficult treatments. Being the matriarch of our family, we all depend on her for advice and wisdom. We are so thankful that she has overcome this terrible disease.

***

Lucynda Beers let us know a little about her amazing stepmom, Marjorie Beers.

My stepmother Marge is a breast cancer survivor! Margie lost her first husband to a massive heart attack several years ago, her two grown twins within a year and half of each other and her own mother (natural causes) before enduring her own breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent mastectomy almost two years ago. I don’t know any woman stronger, AND she can put up with my Dad, too! She is AMAZING!

***

We heard about Mary Krywcun from her sister, Susan Boshier.

My sister Mary passed away seven years ago from breast cancer; she fought hard for survival, but eventually her body just gave up the fight, even though her mind and heart never stopped trying to defeat the terrible disease in her body!!! She left behind our mom and dad, several siblings, children and grandchildren. I miss her every day, especially when I know that I can not call and talk to her when I need to talk to my big sister. Memories will live forever, but tears still start even now just writing this about her!!! I do everything, big or little, to spread the word about breast cancer and prevention. WEAR A PINK RIBBON EVERY DAY, ESPECIALLY FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER; [it's a] small gesture, but everyone recognizes that famous PINK RIBBON!!!!!!

OCTOBER 5, 2012

AnnMarie Salviski
AnnMarie Salviski

Lisa Dudley shared the story of her friend, AnnMarie Salviski.

I want to share a story about my beautiful friend AnnMarie Salviski, an eight-year breast cancer survivor. It’s fate how our lives intertwined. She was on a medical leave from work, and I was the temp that filled in for her position. We did not know each other at that time. I had just lost my job after 20 years due to layoffs. I myself am a seven-year breast cancer survivor, and this was my first job after going through cancer treatments. I found out I was filling in for someone who was out due to breast cancer, and right then and there, we had an immediate bond. I finally got to meet her after she returned to work. AnnMarie has been through a radical mastectomy,  chemo and radiation and is still fighting the fight today. She is an inspiration to all. Her strength, passion, endurance, positive outlook and sense of humor shine a light on everyone she comes into contact with. She has been the team chairperson for our company’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life team for several years, and she rallied our team to raise over $20,000 this past year. Besides going through her own battles, she always finds time to attend and support cancer fundraising events and is always thinking what can she can do next to support the fight against breast cancer. She has a heart of gold and will help anyone in need. I look up to her, as no matter what she is going through on a specific day, she finds a reason to smile and will tell you she is “just fine.” I owe a lot to her, as I would not be where I am today without her. Last but not least, AnnMarie always stands out in a crowd because of her beauty, and she owns every breast cancer item there is on earth!!!

***

Dianne Millard
Dianne Millard

Lori Carrow told us about her friend, Dianne Millard.

Dianne was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42. She seemed to beat the first round with treatment, but sadly, cancer reemerged seven years later in her bones and liver. Dianne died almost a year ago to the day. Dianne loved the outdoors and travelling. She had a beautiful smile, a wicked sense of humor and an infectious laugh. Fortunately, Dianne was able to spend her 50th birthday at the Grand Canyon before her final journey. She faced the dark days of cancer with courage, grace and dignity with friends and family at her side. I expect you’re bicycling around Heaven planning your next adventure, Di! But we miss you everyday. XO

***

OCTOBER 4, 2012

Leanne Miller
Leanne Miller

Mary Nowak tells us about her niece, Leanne Miller.

Leanne is my great niece who found out in October of 2011 that she had breast cancer, and at the time was pregnant. The trooper that she is has since had chemo, delivered a healthy baby boy at 32 weeks, went through a mastectomy and radiation, and is now in remission. Through the love and faith of family and friends, she is determined to beat it! Leanne has a blog, Team Chin, which followed her through her whole ordeal, and she also has been very involved in her hometown area with various events, as well as having a television interview. The story is quite long, but for a young mother and wife in her 20s, she has shown how we all should live our lives, as if we can do anything if you set your mind to it! Her story is really something every woman should hear.

***

Barb Masterman
Barb Masterman

 Sue Grisanti shared the story of a mother and daughter, Barb and Dawn Masterman.

Well, Dawn is my best friend of over 40 years, and she is a breast cancer survivor of two years. Unfortunately, her mother, Barb, was diagnosed with breast cancer first, four years ago, and October 22, 2011, she lost her fight and passed away. She was a wonderful woman, like a mother to me. So, this year, we did the Bossom Buddie walk in her honor, and our team raised over $3,000 for Roswell.

***

OCTOBER 3, 2012

Cindy Henning
Cindy Henning

Deanna Russo would like to tell you about her friend, Cindy Henning.

Cindy is one of the strongest people I know. It’s been about a year and a half since Cindy’s cancer diagnosis. We’re happy to say after undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, a double mastectomy  and additional surgeries, she’s on her way to making a full recovery. She’s active in Gilda’s Club and various other cancer-awareness organizations. Cindy is a survivor in every sense of the word, and her friends and family are very proud of the strides she’s taken in her fight against the disease.

***

Rita Sikorski
Rita Sikorski

Dianne Kijania has a story about family friend Rita Sikorski.

Rita was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was in her lymph nodes and her rib. Rita, at her age 82, went through all the tests, chemo and infusions without a complaint. Never once did she complain about being sick and continued to go to church every Sunday as always. She just had a mastectomy, her glands removed on September 28. Again, not once complained, said her pain was not bad even though you could see it in her face. Even when diagnosed, she wasn’t upset. She took the news very well. Rita is doing well after her surgery, again without complaints.  Another story I remember: When she first starting going for her chemo treatments, she would go to her hairdresser every week to get her hair done. Well even before losing her hair, she asked her hairdresser to get started on a wig. She was excited about this.

***

Debby McGuire
Debby McGuire

Angelena McGuire remembers her mom, Debby McGuire.

I lost my mom to breast cancer. She was first diagnosed at 43 and fought until the last year, when the pain and treatment became too much for her body to handle. She passed away at 50. I miss her every single day. She didn’t have the chance to see her only child buy a house or get married. She missed her grandchildren’s first day of school. She loved everyone and wasn’t given a fair chance in life. After my father left her after 38 years of marriage and halfway through her battle, she lost everything. But she still believed in angels and loved me and her grandchildren. I am thankful that she met them, even though they were just babies. I miss her. So many things to share with her.

 ***

lori napierala-hassett
Lori Napierala-Hassett

Andrea Straw shares the story of her friend and neighbor, Lori Napierala-Hassett.

We would like to introduce you to a humble woman who has the strength of many. Her name is Lori Napierala-Hassett, and she is our mother, our friend, our neighbor. Her time and energy has always been giving to others; the raising of her three daughters, taking care of her granddaughter and being the sole caregiver to her ailing mother until her passing on May 22, 2012. Now Lori is in need of our help. Two weeks following her mother’s passing, Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to undergo surgery to remove the tumors, which all came back positive with cancer. While trying to figure out Lori’s next steps of treatment, the doctors discovered that she also has a rare form of blood cancer, and, if left untreated, it will develop into advanced leukemia. To treat both forms of cancer, she is undergoing numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

***

Patricia Nelms
Patricia Nelms

Aundrea Sanders honors her mother, Patricia Nelms.

My mom, Patricia Nelms, is a breast cancer survivor!! She is the strongest, most humble woman I know. She was diagnosed in 2004 but didn’t reveal her diagnosis to her four children or family because of fear. She had lost her mother after being diagnosed with ovarian and breast cancer just a few year earlier. She was fearful, but with God, she found the strength to accept the things she could not change and decided to fight, not to fall victim to, this ugly disease. She chose the treatment that was right for her and has been an advocate for breast cancer awareness every day since. She has information sessions at our church to make people aware. She is proud to say is is a survivor!, and I am proud that she is a survivor. My mom is my best friend, my role model and my strength to be an advocate for myself with early testing.

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