Joann Rich of Manila was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, underwent a mastectomy, and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments. It has not been easy, but she said she is making it with the help of God, her family and friends.
Ms. Rich has three remaining treatments (out of 12) and will receive her final treatment March 10.
She plans on going back to work at the end of March. She is a LPN at the Correctional Medical Services in Osceola.
She loves being a nurse and is looking forward to going back to work.
Rich said she always wanted to be a nurse but went to cosmetology school and was a hair stylist for over 20 years. After her children were grown, she decided it was not too late and she started to nursing school in 1993 and graduated in 1994.
She and her husband, Terry, have three grown children, Lisa Bourland of Milwaukee, Wis., Patricia Hall of Rockville, Md., and David Rich of Cordova, Tenn. They also have three grandchildren.
Rich and her daughters will be participating in the 2008 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer DC, a noncompetitive walk to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
The Avon Walk DC is one of eight weekend walks taking place in 2008. Rich will leave on April 29 and return on May 6. The DC walk is scheduled for May 3-4. Her daughters will be walking and she will be working as a crew member. Participants have a choice of completing a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon and a half (39.3) miles) over a weekend. Each walker commits to raising at least $1,800 in donations, and each Avon Walk attracts several thousand participants from across the country.
"After I was diagnosed, I discovered there are a lot of people right here in our area affected by breast cancer," Rich said. "Funds raised from the Avon Walk is used for research and some funds are sent back to communities to pay for mammograms.
"The women and men who participate in the Avon Walks for Breast Cancer give us hope one day we will know a world without breast cancer," Carol Kurzig, executive director of the Avon Foundation, a public charity that produces the events, said. "Thanks to thousands of people like Joann we are able to provide funding for essential research as well as for community organizations that provide access to care for those who are faced with this disease."
Rich said she and her daughters were inspired to take part in the Avon Walk DC after researching breast cancer. Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with the disease. About 80 percent of those women will be in a family that has never had any cancer.
Rich stressed the importance of having regular mammograms.
"Money to pay for a mammogram and the fact there was no cancer in my family were the biggest reasons I never had a mammogram until the age of 65," Rich said. "I thought I was safe. No woman is ever safe from breast cancer."
Rich and her daughters decided to take part in this walk to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer. Rich is trying to help her daughters raise the money they need to participate as well as raise $500 herself for the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates in 2008 more than 180,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the U.S. and over 40,000 deaths will be attributed to the disease. Breast cancer affects men, too, and in 2008 ACS estimates over 2,000 cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed. The best defense against breast cancer is awareness, education and early detection.
Bourland and Hall have set a fundraising goal of $2,000 each to help women get educated, pay for mammograms, and receive treatment in honor of their mother. To support their fundraising campaign, go to www.avonwalk.org and click on make a donation and follow the prompts. Just enter one of their three names and their sites will appear. Joann Rich can be contacted locally by calling 561-4377 or mail to P.O. Box 1034, Manila 72442.
Funds raised by Rich and the thousands of other Avon Walk participants are awarded by the Avon foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically undeserved. From 2003-2006, the Avon Walk series raised $150 million in the fight against breast cancer. Beneficiaries receiving the funds range from local nonprofit breast cancer support and care services to leading cancer research centers. Grants are awarded to support five areas: breast cancer medical research; access to treatment; support services; awareness and education; and screening and diagnostics. For more information, including a list of Avon Foundation grants and free printable breast cancer information, visit www.avonfoundation.org.
Rich and her daughters are looking forward to being part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.