Meet our Honorary Team New Balance Survivor- Tara Ingling!

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Meet our 2015 Honorary Team New Balance Survivor, Tara Ingling!  The Honorary Team New Balance was formed in 1995 to celebrate stories of survival.  For each Race for the Cure, the Affiliate has the opportunity to choose a local survivor to be a part of Honorary Team New Balance.  These members are honored for their personal perseverance against breast cancer and dedication to raising breast cancer awareness.

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Tara’s Story

I was 37 years old, had no family history of breast cancer, and NO risk factors. So why did a voice inside my head continue to tell me I needed to have a mammogram? I asked my OB/GYN for two years to order a baseline mammogram for me, but she felt it was not necessary.  Finally, the third year that voice was no longer a whisper so I decided I would not take no for an answer.

After several mammograms and a biopsy I was diagnosed with high grade DCIS (aggressive ductal  carcinoma in situ).  Luckily, my cancer was caught very early and considered to be stage 0 or 1.  The fact that I have two young children that need me around for a long time made my decision on how I wanted to treat this cancer pretty simple.  I wanted to do what gave me the best survival rate and what would help me to live my life without constantly worrying and looking over my shoulder.  I chose to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction.

With the support of my amazing husband, family, friends, and an incredible team of doctors, I am proud to say that as of March 21, 2015 I am a two year survivor.  There were certainly days that I asked God, “Why me?” But I have tried to turn that around and ask him, “What can I learn from this and how can I help others?” I began volunteering for Susan G. Komen and have met, and hopefully helped, several women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Along this journey I have met so many amazing and inspiring survivors as well as some women I will forever call my friends.

As a dear friend of mine once said, “We should all be so in love with each day.” If you take anything from my story, please live each day with a purpose and never forget to listen when God is speaking to you.

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Culture of Counting

Marybeth

Have you ever noticed that people just don’t know what to say when you share that you are a breast cancer survivor? Or, maybe you are someone who has been in that situation, fumbling for the right words…I know I did before my breast cancer journey. 

When I started speaking publicly to share my experience, I decided it would be helpful educate others on what to say. 

The ideal conversation that I encourage goes something like this… 

“….and I’m a breast cancer survivor.”

“Wow! Thanks for sharing that with me. How many years?”

“Three!”

“Congratulations!”

…at which point most people share that someone important in their life also had a breast cancer journey. 

The next time you get info a similar conversation, I challenge you to take the next step and explain why we observe a culture of counting.

It’s because from the moment of diagnosis, breast cancer patients are locked in a battle with a diabolical disease. We are in it for life – literally. 

Komen has played a major role in improving the relative 5-year survival rate for early-stage cancers to 99% Unfortunately, with that accomplishment comes a misunderstanding by many that “we’ve got this…if you catch it early, it is a one-and-done disease.”

I was diagnosed at 43.  We need to advance the research so we are discussing 45 year survival rates. (My life’s goal is to be a sassy, fashion conscious 90-year old like my next-door neighbor…more about her in another blog.)

Breast cancer still has no cure. Let that motivate us as we Participate, Advocate, & Donate for the 1 in 8.

Off to train with my running app.  See you at the Race!

 Marybeth

#komenozark

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*Our Guest Blogger, Marybeth Cornwell is the Honorary Survivor Chair for the 17th Annual Komen Ozark Race for the Cure. Marybeth is the Senior Vice President of Home for Walmart United States and just celebrated her three year cancerversary.