From the desk of Lauren Palmer
“If you don’t hire me, I’ll just keep coming back,” a then 22-year old Katie Rose told The American Cancer Society (ACS) interviewer when she was finally granted a meeting after months of failed attempts. The recent Texas Tech graduate’s persistence paid off. She was offered a job as The Community Development Manager and was quickly put to work fundraising through events and campaigns in the southern region.
Katie’s persistence in joining the ACS team wasn’t the result of a millennial generational trait or even innate hard-headedness. Instead, it came from watching her mother fight – and nearly lose – a battle with breast cancer. Katie was just a teenager at the time. “I have no siblings and my parents separated when I was little, so it has always been just my mother and me. Having to face her mortality at such a young age was the scariest event I’ve ever dealt with,” Katie told me concerning her mother’s diagnosis. The story is one many of us know too well.
After completing a self-breast exam at home, Katie’s mother, Julie, found a lump that was initially classified as a calcium deposit. After months of watching it grow with continued assurance from her doctor that it was nothing, she finally demanded it be removed. It was then that her medical team realized the severity. On a Thursday afternoon in early 2010, Julie was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. This type of cancer was rare, fast spreading, and had a large likelihood of returning in her brain, lungs or bones within 5 years. Katie recalls, “My grandmother came to my high school and had me pulled out of class to break the news. I was 15, overwhelmed, and terrified.”
Julie’s only chance for survival required an immediate double mastectomy and the removal of several lymph nodes. Julie remained in the hospital in Fort Worth to recover, while Katie slept every night on a cot in her mother’s room. Then each morning, Katie would commute to Granbury to finish her sophomore year of high school. The surgery was followed by 5 months of chemotherapy. Every other week Julie’s body was blasted with 3 different types of chemotherapy; it was so harsh, the treatment alone almost took her life. When the chemotherapy was completed in October of 2011, she began taking a drug called Herceptin – a drug developed, in part, through ACS funding. Katie attributes her mother’s survival to Herceptin: “The development of Herceptin changed the course of my life because it prevents cancer from returning. My mother has been cancer free for almost 8 years!” This is a tremendous accomplishment considering Julie’s initial prognosis, the cancer has a good chance of returning to her brain, lungs or bones.
“You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but cancer affects everyone,” Katie told me of her decision to join The American Cancer Society. The nationwide, community-based organization is dedicated to saving and celebrating lives while completely eliminating cancer from our world. Friends, can you imagine what this will look like one day when our world is cancer free?!
Today, because of The American Cancer Society, there are 26% less cancer deaths since 1991. The ACS not only funds breakthrough cancer research, but also provides 24/7 patient support and even free rides to treatment. When medical care takes cancer patients away from home, The American Cancer Society offers free lodging for patients and caregivers at the nearest Hope Lodge Facility.
Becoming the Community Development manager for ACS is a dream for Katie. “Maybe through my work with ACS I can help save someone else’s mom, just as mine was saved.” Katie is proud and excited for McKinney to rally around ACS – as we have always done – to help bring an end to this life-taking disease that truly affects everyone.
Click here to learn more about the ACS Golf Tournament taking place at Stonebridge Country Club on September 17, or here to check out their Facebook page. If you are unable to participate in the ACS Golf Tournament, please consider making a donation directly to The American Cancer Society by clicking here. You can also learn more about the ACS Relay for Life by visiting that Facebook page!
Thank you to The American Cancer Society for sponsoring this post.
To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.