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Smiling headshot of Cathy, a breast cancer survivor.

Meet Cathy

Breast Cancer Survivor

"Going dancing, surfing and on trips kept me in the mindset of 'I'm going to get better.'"

More and more patients are becoming advocates for their own health. Cathy is a shining example. As a single mother of four, keeping her life in balance was a challenge. But when she felt something on her breast, she decided to get it checked. The mammogram and ultrasound didn’t detect anything, so she assumed it was nothing. But a year later, she still noticed the lump.

A suspicious lump leads to a breast cancer diagnosis.

Cathy went to Moffitt Cancer Center for a second opinion. A second mammogram detected suspicious nodes and a biopsy revealed them to be positive for cancer. Oddly, an MRI confirmed the original lump was a different type of cancer—in the same breast. But both were curable. Cathy says, “That was one of the best things that I heard to keep me focused on the fact that it would be over at some point.”

An avid runner and yoga enthusiast, Cathy was energized by her Moffitt team who encouraged her not to give up her many passions, “to keep going out dancing, go surfing, go on trips…” she says. “That was incredible because it kept me in the mindset that I’m going to get better.”

That mindset was tested when she lost her hair due to chemotherapy. Luckily Cathy had an army of supporters to keep her going. “They formed what they called Cathy’s Fight Club,” she explains. These friends surprised her on the day she had her mastectomy, showing up in “Cathy’s Fight Club” tee shirts and posting pictures on social media. They brought meals to her house, cleaned, took care of her kids and offered encouragement as she blogged about her experiences.

“They have been my greatest strength,” Cathy says, “and any four of them I could call at a moment’s notice and they would be there for me.”

Cathy thrives after breast cancer treatment. 

Perhaps it’s this strong support system that allowed Cathy to continue her active lifestyle. She recently finished the Chicago Half Marathon, went surfing in Fort Lauderdale, visited New York and crashed a wedding in Orlando. But most of all, she looks forward to just doing the active things she used to do with her kids—realizing that not every cancer patient gets that privilege.

When asked what courage means to her, Cathy says, “staying positive, being a light for others when you could choose not to be.”