“Life is Worth Fighting For”

Y-Me Breast Cancer Survivor Stories
survivorHear from breast cancer survivors who have shared their personal experiences and what the Y-Me Softball Tournament means to them.

Beth O’Rourke – 8 Year Cancer Survivor

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May 31st, 2016 I celebrated my 8th year Cancer Free. What a great feeling. Just  as great as  when 1000 plus incredible women gather at a neighborhood park. Wearing their pink and ready to “Play For A Cure”. The Y-Me Softball tournament !!  This is a day totally dedicated  to the women who are fighting the fight, for the women who have lost the fight, and for the women who are  supporting both.  Ginger Rugai invited me to play in the Survivors game my first year. While I could only be a cheerleader that year I could  not wait to be invited back the next year. I am honest enough to say I have not one athletic softball ability but this is without a doubt my favorite day in the summer. So much support, friendship, laughs, tears and stories that make this event a one of a kind. I applaud the committee and Ginger for continuing this great tradition and for all those that support this very important research of Dr. Macle0d.

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IMG_9147Tracy O’Brien – 15 Year Survivor
Fifteen years (and 9 months) ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was twenty two, had a four year old son, just finished college the year prior, and started my first real job when my world was forever changed. Countless doctors, tests, surgeries, physical and emotional roller coasters, a marriage, another child, a divorce, family and friends supporting me through it, dating, parenting, coaching, playing and here I am today grateful for it all! No one ever wants or asks for cancer to become part of their world and I am no different.  I am grateful that I was able to beat it, learn from it, cherish life more because of it, and try to help others through their journeys of such an alternating disease. One of the biggest ways I can help and enjoy helping others is through this softball tournament. It combines so much meaning for me. I get to be outdoors, playing softball with my friends, honoring my “sisters” and myself, and enjoying hearing other’s stories. This tournament celebrates life and positivity while still recognizing the effects cancer can have on you. It helps to fund research into trying to make this disease obsolete. I’m honored to be here playing with my team of friends and my “sisters” who have fought the same battle I have! Some have lost the battle but us survivors are here to carry your torch on!
Tracy O’Brien 

Kathy Savory – 18 Year Survivor

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Like many other women, breast cancer snuck up on me while I was living my life and raising 3 children with my husband.  Being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39 was devastating .  Through the help and support of many friends, family and medical staff, I am now a survivor of 18 years.  I began playing in the Y-Me tournament and met Ginger Rugai and Kathy O’Shea through that event.  The event is a fun-filled, emotional, supportive, and a collaborative day that my team and group of friends now  fondly refer to as  the other “Mother’s Day”.   I have played in many, many years of the tournament , even before being diagnosed.  I  am impressed and inspired to see the number of survivors and how the event has  spanned generations; with so many family members gathering to cheer on their moms, aunts, friends and grandmas.  This day has become a fond summer memory for me and many others, and I look forward to it each August.  Thank you to all of the organizers and volunteers; your help is much appreciated.

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Molly Sullivan – 7 Year Survivor

Seven years ago, I was newly-declared a breast cancer survivor when I joined other survivors at the annual Y-ME Softball Tournament for the first time. As the women took to the field and Ginger Rugai read each of our names and the length of time we had been survivors, I knew my time didn’t yet amount to much: Four months. It was a long four months to be sure, as any survivor knows. Time for us is measured first in days, then weeks, then months and finally, years. As the names were read, there was applause and then, for me, tears, when I heard my name called. I was a survivor, even at four months. The other women had passed important cancer survivor milestones: five years, 10 years, 15 years and those seemed like lifetimes to me. This inspired me, and I knew that as the strong women around me had offered their encouragement, that I, too, would be able to encourage other women as they moved through their journey. When you have breast cancer you always look forward, never back. I’m looking forward to another year of camaraderie with the sisterhood of survivors.

Donna Spellacy Dalton- 16 year Survivor

I love playing in the Survivors’ Softball Game each year for many reasons. First and foremost, I am in awe of the hundreds of women who participate each year in the Softball Tournament to raise money for research for Breast Cancer. By participating in the Survivors’ Game, it is my small way of giving back, as a 16 year survivor of this devastating disease. I unfortunately know too many relatives and friends who have not been as lucky as myself, to be a survivor, including my longtime friend and Mercy High School classmate, Maureen Grant Mulryn. Maureen was a valiant fighter of breast cancer and a participant in the Survivors’ Softball Game organization for many years.

 

Mary Beth Lee- 31 Year Survivor

The last Saturday in August has been an amazing event for so many years . It brings together so many emotions. Emotions of healing and strength, love and support for one another. Together with everyone, this day gives us all inspiration and the knowledge that we will stay strong and find a cure in our lifetime through all the people that support this day. It is a day that is always in our hearts for those here as well as our angels in the outfield.

I can’t thank you enough for participating in the Y-Me Softball Tournament and reading my story.  I feel so strongly about supporting research because if it wasn’t for women like you, there would be no Herceptin to attack the type of breast cancer I have, HER2.  This type of breast cancer is considered very aggressive, but with the development of Herceptin, survival rates changed for the better.  Dr. Dennis Slamon, who started out at University of Chicago, developed Herceptin with the help of community fundraising.  That grass root fund raising specifically went towards his research and has now saved thousands and thousands of lives.  Here we are today at the Y-Me, making a difference by raising funds for breast cancer research!  The advances will happen again because we have the faith and determination.  Cheers to Dr. Slamon, Dr. MacLeod, Ginger and Kathy, and all of you for your commitment to research!  

With sincere gratitude, Kim Patton

8 rounds of chemo, 52 weeks of Herceptin, 33 rounds of radiation, two surgeries, 5 years of tamoxifen, now almost 7 years later… loving life!

Deena Traina – 12 year survivor

I have always enjoyed playing in this tournament. 12 years ago it took on a whole new meaning for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

When I was going through all the treatments, the poking and prodding, it was depressing, but knowing this tournament was coming up was one of the things that kept me focused.  It kept my spirits up because I look forward to this every year.

I love seeing everyone, hearing their stories and sharing ideas. It is such a fun day full of sisterhood, love and empowerment. I have had the privilege of meeting some incredible women that continue to inspire me.

In a world so full of separatism, it is refreshing to see so many come together for a common good. And it’s also nice to know exactly where the money we raise is going – not to some foundation for the use of however they see fit, but to actual research!

I am very thankful to Ginger, Kathy, Matt and all the organizers for continuing this fantastic (tournament) event.