On The Shore On The shore — 03 October 2014
A fierce competitor girds for cancer fight

KIM  SWEERS

I am an athlete and I compared cancer to running a marathon. It was my desire to win – and an amazing medical team– that kept me going.

In January I felt a pea-sized lump above my breast. My oncologist suggested that I schedule a mammogram/ultrasound. The results were not certain the tumor was malignant and my medical team suggested removal and a biopsy. A week after my surgery, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A lumpectomy confirmed that I had Stage 1 breast cancer and it had not spread to my lymph nodes. A second opinion affirmed what my doctors had recommended – six weeks of radiation. Genetic testing was done as a precaution to ensure that I didn’t have the BRCA gene mutation.

I have an amazing medical team at Broward Health. I cannot express how extraordinary the staff was to me. The care, compassion, kindness and personal attention were far beyond that which I could ever have imagined. I have never encountered a more competent, dedicated and caring group of people. I am forever grateful.

My family was awesome! We took photos of my journey with my family, friends, medical team and other cancer patients and survivors for my “cancer book.” It helped me realize how important it is to lean on others and not go through the journey alone.

My mind and body were very strong before my diagnosis and I believe that played an important role in my recovery. I am an athlete and I compared cancer to running a marathon. The finish line is far in the distance but it was my desire to win that kept me going.

Breast cancer changed my life forever. It helped me to prioritize what’s important and embrace the value of life every day.

Before my diagnosis, my husband, Randy, and I became involved in Racing For Cancer, a charity founded by 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay in honor of his mother who died from cancer.

AutoNation pledged to raise $2 million to communicate the importance of early detection and invited Randy and I on board since we both experienced the tragic loss of a parent to cancer.

Life dealt me a new hand when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and now I plan to be more active in the fight against cancer, stressing the importance of early detection.

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