Meet The Recipients

  1. Laurena Patton Collins
    I am not the best person about going to the doctor. However, my job at Department of Human Services in Fayetteville requires yearly physicals to make each employees health insurance premium cheaper. At 40, my doctor encouraged me to get a mammogram. I didn't take the time because life is busy. At 41, my doctor reminded me again. I was going to do it this year. Plus, I wanted to because my breast tissue felt different on my right breast. It felt hard. I wasn't to concerned because my mom had lumps on her breast, but my granny is a breast cancer survivor. I even thought maybe it's harder from playing softball. I thought maybe the muscle is building up and making it harder. Nonetheless, at my job I had to request off a month in advance so I picked a day and I was going to make two appointments. I made a dentist appointment and I called The Breast Center, but they had no openings. I didn't tell The Breast Center I had a concern because I had already convinced myself that there was a different reason for the hard breast tissue. I decided to make an appointment with the dentist and gynecologist since there were no openings with The Breast Center. During the gynecologist appointment, the doctor gives a breast exam. She was VERY concerned about the hard tissue. She called The Breast Center and got a diagnostic exam scheduled for the next day. During the diagnostic exam, the doctor at The Breast Center told me she was VERY concerned. She wanted me to get a biopsy the next day. The biopsy would be my 3rd day in a row to go to a doctor. They told me they would call me on the weekend to let me know the results of the biopsy. I was driving a friend home on Sunday when I was called and told I had breast cancer. That's when the nightmare started. I cried with my friend. Then I called my husband and cried to him. Then I called my granny and cried to her. I continued to cry and go into a depression until I got some more tests that showed the cancer had not spread out of my right breast or lymph nodes under my right arm. I then had hope to beat cancer 100% and be a survivor. I was and still am in shock that I got cancer because I considered myself a healthy 41 year old. I was active and played softball. I never smoked or did drugs. I rarely (maybe 4 times a year) drank alcohol. I didn't even drink caffeine. The reality is 1 in 8 women get breast cancer, and I am 1 of the 8 who got it. My treatment started by getting a port to not need so many IV'S for chemo treatments. The plan is to get 6 rounds of chemo, and I get one round every 21 days. I got the first round of chemo shortly before Christmas, and I had the worst Christmas of my life because I felt so sick. I tried to work after the first session of chemo, but I felt horrible at work. I started calling in everyday due to weakness, pain, and side effect problems from the chemotherapy. My oncologist with Highlands Oncology decided I should not be released to work until 08/15/19. I was relieved because I needed rest, but I was shocked and worried because that's a long time to not work and not make money. Like a lot of family's, my husband cannot pay all the bills in our household. I decided if I had to loose my vehicle that would just have to happen, but now I don't think that's going to happen with the support of extended family and this fundraiser. I have peace that God is going to make a way for my needs to be provided for. Right now, I have completed four rounds of chemotherapy, and I have two rounds of chemo left. Then I will get a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Last, I will get radiation therapy. Breast cancer is a horrible disease that robs a woman of things that make her feminine such as long, pretty hair. I am thankful to be a chosen recipient. I feel like I have helped others, so I am now being blessed with some help. I have been a teacher and coach in the past in Exeter, MO. I am from Fayetteville, AR. I have helped children by being a child protective services worker for 10 years in Washington Co., Arkansas, and the past two years I have been a food stamp worker in Washington Co., Arkansas. I hope to return to work at DHS as a food stamp worker in August 2019. I was still getting paid from sick and vacation time, but I have ran out of time and received my last paycheck on March 1, 2019. Now, I have to start paying my insurance premium out-of-pocket. My husband and extended family are helping, but any help from this fundraiser will go to medical bills, utility expense, or car payment expense. The prayers are just as important as any financial help and knowing strangers care about me and the cause of breast cancer is priceless! Thank you so much!!!
  2. Kathy Mullens
    There is an old addage, “Man plans and God laughs,” which I find especially applicable in my case. My name is Kathy Mullens. I am a sixty six year young wife, mother, and Grandmama who had determined that 2018 would be the year I would concentrate on improving my health. I joined a gym and became addicted to my workouts, going three to five days a week, and in May, I had gastric sleeve surgery. Within two months I lost around fifty pounds, and was delighted to find that my breast tissue had started to become quite firm, though only on the right side of my right breast. I attributed that to being right hand dominate, and assumed I had pressed more weight on that side when working out. However, one day when I ran sudsy hands over my breasts while taking a shower, a sharp pain shot through my breast. I rinsed, dried off, and took time to actually look at my reflection in the mirror. A large bulge protruded from the outside of my right breast. I raised my arm over my head, and the skin dimpled. I was familiar with breast cancer signs, so immediately made an appointment at Hulston Cancer Center in Springfield Missouri, where I live. After many diagnostic tests, some of which were very painful, I received my diagnosis. I had Invasive Mammory Carcinoma, it was ductal and in 18 lymph nodes. My oncologist told me that this is one of the most aggressive cancers, and that he would treat it aggressively. I underwent chemotherapy treatments, first, with what is appropriately referred to as the “Red Devil,” because it is so effective against cancer, but also probably because it carries such horrible side effects. Once finished with the first stage of chemo drugs, I was put on Taxil, but because my body became run down, and I developed neuropathy in both feet and my right hand, my oncologist ceased the treatments three fourths of the way through the plan he had established, and I was scheduled for bi-lateral mastectomy. I was not prepared for the pain that followed that surgery. Whenever I’ve had to face challenges in my life, my policy has always been to pull up my big girl panties, suck it up and deal with it. I always thought I could handle pain well, but this was a whole new level of pain. In the earliest days of my diagnosis, I spent a week praying that God would give me what I need, whatever that might be, during this journey, as I need it, and He has been faithful to answer that cry. There were dark times when I didn’t want to frighten or cause distress to family or friends with my state of mind, and knew no one could understand or be capable of offering just the right words in the right way, at the right time, that could comfort me. I didn’t even know what I needed to hear. But one morning in prayer, God showed me that only He knows how to go into the secret chambers of our souls and pour His Comfort there. And He did. Today, I began the first of thirty five radiation treatments. It’s one more step toward healing. Although at first, I was confused because I thought 2018 would be the year I would become healthy, but instead was the year I was diagnosed with cancer, now, I understand God had a plan. If I had not undergone gastric sleeve surgery when I did, and lost so much weight as fast as I did, the tumor would not have been visible, and I would not have seen a doctor to learn I had cancer, and would not have caught it before it masticized to vital organs. God’s way….God’s timing. My over the counter drugs, prescription meds, trips to the doctors and therapies, the hospital bills, and copays are astronomical. I am humbled and so very thankful for the support from Power of Pink, and look forward to meeting Janice, her family, volunteers, and the other recipients, and others who are fighting the battle of their lives. I thank each of you with Power of Pink! May God abundantly bless you for your hard work, endless hours of selfless sacrifice, and kindness.
  3. Anna O'Neill
    My name is Anna O’Neill, and I am a lifelong resident of Exeter, Missouri. My husband Tom and I have been married for 52 years. We have three sons, one daughter, eight grandkids, and two great grandsons. I recently retired from Fasco after 40 years of working in the shipping department. I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in February 2019, which came as a shock to myself and all of my family. I will be undergoing radiation five days a week for six weeks for treatment. Luckily at this time, doctors are optimistic that I will not have to have surgery and with radiation, there is a low chance of it returning. I am looking forward to digging deep, giving all my faith in God, and fighting off this disease. I am so thankful for everyone who has been and is continuously sending prayers up for me. The Power of Pink is such a blessing to me and my family. The support I have already received, and the mission to find a cure is what I love about this organization. My family, friends, and I are all looking forward to this years walk and supporting the six other ladies who are along for the ride with me in this fight. Together and with God, we can and we WILL beat this and continue to live our lives for Him. Thank you for the nomination, support, and most importantly, your ongoing prayers. Blessings
  4. Casey Ridenour
    My name is Casey. I am a mother of three bright, creative and crazy children: Ben(15), Braeden(12) and Jocelyn(8). I’ve been married to my best friend and rock, Jason for 20 years this July. In May 2018 while doing a breast self-exam, I felt a very tiny lump. It was so small that it didn’t really concern me. My husband and mom convinced me to get it checked out. While I’m on the subject please, if you ever feel anything suspicious do not wait; Go get it checked!! Anyway, as I walked into the doctor’s office, I felt such sympathy for the women that were there to receive the news that they had breast cancer. What happened next was the furthest thing from my mind. The nurse did a check, mammogram, then an ultrasound back to back. Quickly after that I was preparing for a biopsy because they had some concerns. Needless to say I was scared. The phone call came a few days later...I was diagnosed with an aggressively growing, triple positive breast cancer. I just wept in Jason’s arms all night. Through shock and fear, you are hurled into this life where everything slows down and speeds up at the same time. With multiple doctor’s appointments, tests, lab results and major decisions that had to be made you sometimes forget what day it is. But through it all God’s peace continued to surround me. In July I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. While I believe this was the right decision and my surgery couldn’t have gone any smoother, I am still saddened by what cancer has robbed me of. Though I try to let the scars be a daily reminder of how grateful I am to be alive. Six short weeks after my surgery I began chemotherapy; the final treatment of which will be in August 2019!!! The pain and sickness I endured during the 4 months of chemo was one of the hardest things I have ever been through. Though the side effects of chemo are somewhat expected, the emotional toll it took on my family was not. These were the times when my faith was tested. As I lay on the couch, unable to move, I cried out to God wondering where He was in all this hurt. He showed up in friends and family providing meals, house cleaning, childcare, love and prayer. And now this amazing blessing of Power of Pink. I have been continually overwhelmed by how faithful He has been in providing for my family. One scripture I clung to is Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hope and peace. That is what God has given me this last year. While I continue to receive treatments and am still recovering both physically and emotionally I trust that God has me and my family in His hands and know that He will use this storm for His glory.
  5. Lori Youngberg Dodson
    A journey is the act of traveling from one place to another, to make one’s way….. Life is a journey filled with lessons of love, loss, joy, pain, laughter, tears, hardships, triumphs, heartaches and unforgettable moments. We all wish for a fairy-tale life where we are happy and everything stays the same. We are all on a journey or path of life not knowing what lies ahead. On my road, I ran into an enemy called CANCER. The day I found out, I walked outside, sat down on the soft grass in the middle of my backyard and CRIED. I thought of my mother and when she learned of her cancer. A short 5 months later, the day after I turned 24, she was gone. I wasn’t ready for her to leave me. My mind flashed to my daughter, Jori Lynn. “Had I raised her to be strong enough to deal with this?” “What would I want her to learn through this process?” “FAITH!! I wanted her to have faith and trust in God’s plan for our lives. I wanted to show her STRENGTH.” I PRAYED…. I prayed not for him to save me, but for me to have the strength to show what it looks like to have faith and trust in his plan for me regardless of the outcome. That moment, I gave it to God and let it go. Then I started calling my family and friends. This is how my journey began. August 30 I came home from work and while getting undressed, I felt pain in my left breast. Feeling where the pain was coming from, I felt a large knot; my emotions raced through concern, fear, panic. I was feeling it every 10 minutes just to be sure it wasn't my imagination. I called the doctor the next morning. September 4 My doctor felt exactly what I was feeling and scheduled me for a mammogram at the Holston Cancer Center. September 18 While having my mammogram they had a few points of concern and scheduled me for a biopsy. September 21 They performed a biopsy on 2 places on my breast and on my lymph nodes under my arm. It was the most painful thing I've been through on this journey. September 26 Received the phone call nobody wants "YOU HAVE CANCER". I was diagnosed with HER 2 positive inflammatory invasive breast cancer. October 11 I received my first of six chemotherapy treatments. I went every 3 weeks and they lasted 8 hours. I lost my hair, fingernails, toenails, had rashes and infections but I made it through. On January 25th, I received the last of the harsh chemotherapy and rang the bell. February 11th Per my request, I had a double mastectomy. The surgery went well and I am healing. My journey is far from over; I am currently waiting to find out if I will be receiving radiation. I will be getting maintenance chemotherapy every 3 weeks until October of this year. I've learned so much about giving to others and reaching out by all the love and support I have received from family, friends and even people who didn't know me. Thank you for being a part of my life and being with me on my journey! LOVE TO ALL
  6. Dalinda Densmore
    I was diagnosed 12/20/18 with Right Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (ER+, PR+, Her-2+ breast cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy w/reconstruction on 1/29/19. This past Monday I had my first Chemo (TCHP) of 6. After that the HP will continue for 12 more cycles while we are doing radiation. Then five years of Anastrozole. Not exactly how I planned to start this year! I noticed last fall that there was a strange feeling in my right upper arm and sometimes my breast. I have had scar tissue in my right breast for years, and thought it was just bothering me again. Finally I set myself up for a mammogram and things just kinda took off from there. So far I am doing really good. I have been blessed with a work situation (in health care) that has been so understanding and so supportive. I have wonderful family support. My husband is retired so he has been available to me at all times, my mom lives in the next building, and my sister, a retired nurse lives about 5 miles away. I have been well cared for. My theme for this year has been “Fear Not”. I got a tattoo about 3 years ago on my left wrist that says “fear not”. Right before Christmas (before we knew about cancer) my daughter introduced me to a book called “A Year Without Fear”, then my cousin introduced me to Francesca Battistelli and her “The Breakup Song” that says “Fear you don’t own me”. There’s my theme. And so far, we’re doing pretty good with that:). I am so thankful and honored to be chosen as a recipient of Power of Pink this year. What a blessing this will be. No one ever has these kinds of expenses and medical bills in their budget:). I’m thrilled that I will have 4 generations walking with me on Saturday! My mom, me, my two daughters (coming from Denver) and my two GRANDAUGHTERS, Indiana and Skyla. Thanks again, and I am looking forward to meeting all of you on Mother’s Day Weekend!
  7. Jeanie Richards
    In March 2018 I was video chatting with my niece and noticed I had a lump on my collarbone and jokingly told her I thought I had cancer all over my body. At that time I was supposed to be making Micronesian embroidery skirts and sending them to her to sell. I had no motivation to do it, even though I had fresh ideas for great designs. Then I noticed another huge lump in my underarm area. I looked up online what would cause lumps in those areas and the only thing I could find was cancer. I had been more or less house bound for about four years, when I rode in a vehicle I would have panic attacks. In order to avoid that I would not leave my house. I talked to my sister’s and told them I thought I had cancer. They were convinced that it was an infection, not cancer, because no one blood related to us ever had cancer. They also thought I was depressed because of the lack of motivation even though I told them it wasn't depression. I finally made it to the clinic to get checked then, with my doctors help, was able to go to Joplin and have the tests and scans I needed. Between that time and my first visit with the oncologist I became very sick, I could no longer stand up to shower, was having breathing problems, was running a constant fever, and could only stay awake 3 to 4 hours at a time. I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that had spread to my lungs, liver, and was even on one of my bones. I went through one of the physically worse things I have ever been through, CHEMOTHERAPY. It worked the cancer was gone! The Dr. took me off of the 2 nasty chemo’s and left me on 2 chemo’s for maintenance. My next scan showed a small spot in my underarm area. The Dr. mentioned radiation but when I went for my last scan that small spot had became 3 larger spots and a new small spot in my other underarm. I was not able to do radiation because it now covers too large of an area. He has me on a new chemo now and will know what effect it is having after my next scans. We bought a fixer up house before I knew I was sick, then I just couldn’t. I am staying with my son, his wife, and four kids. I think every virus that has gone around the school I have caught. The chemo, through God, has given me more time but it ruined my immune system. Any financial help that I receive through Power of Pink will be used toward making my house livable and will be so very much appreciated. I am 52 years old & I want to add one thing, please don’t wait for symptoms before getting checked for cancer, it could cost you your life.