Meet the Susan G Komen South Florida Warriors in Pink

Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure

Meet the 2018 Warriors in Pink!

Maria Arcila

  ·         Beneficiary of Komen Education Grant at Caridad

·         Diagnosed at age 39 not long after arriving from Colombia

·         17-year survivor

·         Participates every year at the Race for the Cure representing Caridad

·         Nominated by Caridad Health Clinic

·         Hometown: Lake Worth (now a citizen)

 

“I am most thankful for the help Susan G. Komen gives to Caridad Center which in turn helped me tremendously.”

 

 Shortly after arriving from Colombia, Maria completed a Komen-funded breast education session at Caridad Health Clinic.  She realized right away that the lump in her breast needed attention.  Her diagnosis was confirmed, but because of early detection, she was back to work within two months of surgery and treatment. Now, she is an advocate for early detection and joins the Race for the Cure every year with Caridad.

Debbie Brooks

  ·         Metastatic survivor

·         14-year survivor

·         Dragon Boat captain

·         Volunteer for Florida Breast Cancer Foundation, Komen South Florida, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Your Bosom Buddies

·         Hometown: Palm Beach Gardens

 

“I didn’t choose to have Metastatic Breast Cancer, but I can choose how I want to live my life with my disease. Embracing life, saying active, encouraging others, sharing hope and never giving up my dreams.”

 

 

Since 2003, Debbie has been a strong advocate and zealous supporter for breast cancer survivors, and a dedicated volunteer for Susan G. Komen South Florida, Florida Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Coalition.  But “Captain Debbie’s” greatest passion is the Lighthouse Dragons SOS, a breast cancer survivor dragon boat team she founded, where she paddles and races with some of the most incredible women she has ever met.

Stephanie Carroll

  ·         Diagnosed in early 30s

·         Has stage 4, metastasized to bones

·         Doctors told her to quit school while she was getting her doctorate because she only had months to live.  Stephanie got her doctorate this year and is living life to the fullest.

·         Age 36

·         Nominated by Loren McGuire, young warrior from 2017

·         Hometown: West Palm Beach

 

“I am most thankful today for the ability to really LIVE life and grow stronger in my faith. I am learning that each day is a precious gift and I want to make the most of my journey as a survivor.”

As a Warrior who was once told she had only 6-8 months to live, Stephanie hopes to share her story of survival and the message that when faced with the possibility of the “worst case scenario,” there is a wonderful opportunity to learn to love the life you have today.  Stephanie’s belief in miracles, her faith, and her desire to fight like a girl and kick cancer goodbye is what helps her give courage to others.

Shiloh Reynolds

  ·         Metastatic breast cancer, stage four survivor

·         14-year survivor

·         Diagnosed at 29

·         Age 42

·         Nominated by Pink Tie Friends

·         Hometown: Port St. Lucie

 

“My strength comes from the Lord!!  Faith, Family and Friends will get you through it!!”

 

Shiloh, a single mother of two daughters, has fought a miraculous battle over 13 years.  Since her diagnosis at 29, she has had 19 surgeries, two series of 32 radiation treatments each, and six types of chemotherapy to treat her stage IV breast cancer that metastasized over the years.  With all she’s gone through, she still takes the time to help others fight, sends care packages and shares community resources like Susan G. Komen.  She especially wants to encourage single moms to know how important it is for them to fight so they can be there for their children as a mother.

 

Nancy Smith

  ·         20-year survivor

·         Age 75

·         Nominated by Kim Martin

·         Hometown: Palm Beach Gardens

 

“I’m so thankful for my healing, and blessed that it has allowed me to give hope and support to others on this journey.  No one should walk this walk alone!” II Corinthians 1:3,4

 

Ten years after her diagnosis, Nancy along with three other survivors and their caregivers started the Cancer Support Group at Christ Fellowship Church. She now manages a database of over 250 cancer “Conquerors,” leads a support group, and serves as the “gate-keeper” for all newly diagnosed at Christ Fellowship and beyond, giving hope, encouragement, sharing resources, praying, and loving on each one during their journeys.  As the founder of the church’s Deaf Ministry, her fellow interpreters sign on stage at the Race in her honor.

Randee VanVleet

  ·         9-year survivor

·         Triple-negative

·         Age 65

·         Nominated by Liisa Spinello, former Warrior

·         Hometown: Lake Worth

 

“I cannot thank everyone enough for the support I received. When you first hear the word “cancer” it is like you need to go on this journey all alone. When you realize just how many friends, family and co-workers will be there for you, there is a sense of relief. Getting involved in volunteering helps you to help others, but it also helps you emotionally by giving you a chance to help others as you were helped.”

 

 

 

Proving that angels can be found just about anywhere, Randee made a Komen connection with a former Warrior at a Parrot Heads event (Liisa Spinello) before she ever knew she had breast cancer.  Just two weeks later, that connection became one of her strongest supporters when Randee was diagnosed.  Since then, she has gone on to co-chair “The Pink Angels” team at the Race for the Cure and volunteered to support Komen’s important work to serve as an angel to others in the community.

Shawntoyia Bernard

  ·         Diagnosed at 32

·         Eight-year survivor

·         Mother of three girls; had two prior to cancer, one after

·         Deputy General Counsel for Palm Beach County School District

·         Husband is PBC County Commissioner Mack Bernard

·         Originally from San Francisco; now a resident of Boynton Beach

“I am most thankful for God’s mercy.  My work is not done here, and so I am grateful and know that I have a huge responsibility to educate as many others as I can.  With education comes knowledge and with knowledge we can save lives!”

The full impact of breast cancer didn’t hit Shawntoyia until a doctor told her that if not for her early detection, her disease could have been fatal.  In the moments that followed, she realized that she needed to share her experience with other young women, particularly young women of color. She knew that if these conversations were not happening in her circle of girlfriends of similar age, they were probably not happening in other circles. She tells younger women about the importance of paying attention to their bodies and not ignoring that “gut feeling” that God gives to us all.

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