Local breast cancer survivors to speak at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital
Bolingbrook – Although breast cancer is the most common cancer women battle, not all experiences are identical.
For Elaine Pikula, a 62-year-old Bolingbrook resident, lumpectomy and radiation were her only treatments. Patsy Walker, 52, also of Bolingbrook, had a more aggressive cancer and required a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
But at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital’s annual tree-lighting ceremony to commemorate October as National Breast Cancer month, both women will share similar messages: Be consistent with testing and walk in hope if you are currently fighting cancer.
“Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence these days,” Pikula said. “There are so many different treatments now, it can be very manageable.”
Walker agreed. “The fear of not knowing is worse than the fear of knowing,” she said.
At the tree lighting ceremony, community members will be invited to write the names of loved ones and add them to a white tree on display in the lobby.
In addition, the first, second and third place winners of the annual amateur Pink Ribbon Art Contest will be announced. All entries may be displayed at the hospital. Donated entries will become part of the lighting ceremony’s silent auction. Entries are due Sept. 23. For more information on the contest, visit www.keepingyouwell.com/pinkart.
Also speaking that night will be Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital Chief Executive Officer Rick Mace, Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar, chaplain Vicky Syren and medical director of the breast cancer clinic, Dr. Jason Goliath. The Bolingbrook High School Choir will sing and refreshments will be served.
In 2007, according to the Center for Disease Control, 202,964 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,598 women died from it. Pikula and Walker, who have just finished their treatments, represent the voices of the survivors.
At a check-up, Pikula’s doctor reminded her that she was long overdue for a mammogram, so Pikula agreed to schedule one. The test revealed a tumor on her left side, almost against her chest wall. Pikula feels very lucky the scan even discovered it, which is why she agreed to speak.
“I felt I had to give back,” Pikula said. “I’m honored to have been invited.”
Walker, however, regularly scheduled her mammograms, even while caring for an ill spouse and four children; her latest scan showed the cancer. Around the time Walker had her surgery and began cancer treatments, her husband died.
Still, with the help of a loving family, Walker endured it and firmly believes that God never dishes out more than she can handle.
“It’s one thing to say it, but it’s another to believe it when the rubber meets the road,” Walker said. “But my kids pulled together and helped their mom through it.”
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.