Survivors/In Memory

Here are a few stories and reasons to stay focused on a cure!

Survivors In Memory

Gladys JeffersonGladys Jefferson
Being a nurse of 33 years, you would think that I would have noticed the signs that there was a lump, some tenderness and would have had it checked sooner. But after spending those years lifting so many patients in the hospital, I injured my back resulting in my early retirement. It was the prescribed pain medication I was taking that prevented me from feeling any discomfort in my left breast.

So on a warm summer Monday in 1998 while lying across my bed, my granddaughter jumped on the bed accidentally elbowing me in the chest. I remember still the sharp pain but that it would subside. It didn’t. An hour or so later I went to the bathroom to check myself. I did a self-exam, then the pinch… and there it was, the dimple. My heart skipped a beat. I immediately went to the phone, called my daughter in Detroit to tell her my suspicion. She calmly told me to just call my doctor and stop trying to self diagnose my condition. So I did. My appointment was on a Tuesday; my results came back on Wednesday; on Friday I went under the knife with a complete mastectomy.

I remember that week trying to recall if any of the women in my immediate family had breast cancer… not one. I was the first (and prayerfully the only one). With no cancer cells in my right breast, I was able to keep it. Due to my age, and the loving support of my husband, Arthur, I chose to not have reconstructive surgery. I had experienced enough after the radiation and chemotherapy. I simply wanted to live a longer life with my family.

I have to share that during such a traumatic time, nothing is more helpful that a family that is there for you. My oldest granddaughter at the age of 22 did the unthinkable to demonstrate her love for me. The day before my appointment to cut my hair short before it would come out due to chemo, she spent two hours in the bathroom, coming out totally bald! Her reason? She said simply, “Grandma, since our heads are shaped alike, I wanted to show you how gorgeous you are going to look with no hair, just like me!” Now THAT is love.
Last year my daughter, Aj, decided to ride her motorcycle to Florida with Divas For A Cure to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. This year, she will be riding it here to Tulsa, Oklahoma on her second ride, this time all the way to Maryland and back to Los Angeles. I couldn’t be more proud, and I am thankful for all of the people that donate to Divas For A Cure. This is a worthy cause, educating on the importance of early detection and providing funds toward research. God bless you all.

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Jean Segers
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2000 after a routine mammogram. I underwent surgery including reconstruction in April. I consider myself quite fortunate in that my cancer was in situ, which means it had not spread. Therefore I did not require any radiation or chemotherapy. I believe if it had not been for cancer research, with the development of the mammogram as well as other life saving devices, I may not have been so fortunate. My husband was my rock throughout the entire process and my family and many friends could not have been more supportive. I continue to do whatever I can to support the find for a cure; including buying breast cancer stamps, doing the Ultimate Drive with BMW, supporting Divas for a Cure, etc.

Jean Reilly
Did I know that after having breast cancer at 41 yrs old that my life would be changed forever? Yes, but in the positive ways it has? Now, I am a 2004 rider from Changing Gears returning this year for yet another adventure of a lifetime. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever seen myself doing the things I do now because of breast cancer. Cancer is such a devastating disease but yet can bring such good things to your life. That is how I have chosen to look at my experience. It has been almost 4 years since that day I heard, “The biopsy was positive." From that day my life has been forever changed. My relationships with my family have friendships are attitude on life has taken a new turn.

I have met some of the most amazing women that have become lifelong friends that I will treasure forever. I live for the moment but yet I look to the future...a future of taking chances, doing those things that I really want to do.
I thank so many for these changes...a very supportive husband who has stood by my side in every decision I've had to make...loving children whom I adore dear friends who never let me walk sisters who are always there for me no matter what...but most of parents....for raising me to see who I really am.

My Mom is the reason I take the chances, the reason I ride...because of her I own a Harley!! Every time I ride, I see her face, feel her touch & hear her voice telling me how proud she is of me, how she is right there with me. feeling the wind & the freedom.

I look forward to showing other survivors that we are truly warriors that can conquer anything we choose to. I have proven that to myself & want to share that your life can be full, it can have good outcomes from cancer.. look at me now!

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Wendy Harris

I was first Diagnosed with border line diebetes in Nov 04, so I went on a diet and lost 50 lbs to control the diabetes instead of taking insulin.

I was feeling great about myself, then I went for a my yearly mammogram in April. I was then diagnosed with breast cancer on April 27, 2005. My first thought was "why me and why would God do this to me after I just got healthy?" Well breast cancer does not care what you are or who you are. I first went in for the lumpectomy in June 05. They also removed 3 nodes (1 was cancerous). After 6 weeks I went back to the surgeon thinking everything was fine and I could go back to work. Wrong! We were told they found more cancer. My husband and I could only look at each other and cry. I decided after taking a few deep breaths that I did not want to die young (52 at the time). So we decided to have the masectomy, reduction and the tram-flap. That was done on Sept 2, 05. After the surgery, of course you have to tolerate those horrible drains but mine left me with continuing seromas in my abdomen for several months. On Dec 2nd during my nipple reconstruction, they had to remove a huge seroma thru my stomach again. That led to more drains, which put me back to the hospital on Dec 14th with a very serious stomach infection under the drains. And so the story goes that I was finally able to return to work Jan 23rd, 06. God Bless my husband! If it was not for his strength and his support, I really don't think I would have come thru this. He was there for every drain that needed emptied, every tear that needed to be wiped away and every bandage that needed changed. He is truley a blessing in my life. The Avon Walk was an experience that I will never forget. Even though I did not walk the full 39 miles, I prayed that every step I took was that much closer to a cure!

Still In The Battle

Sandra Jackson-aka-Sesamestreet


Sandra Jackson-aka-SesamestreetI was really excited with the idea of attempting to ride across the country for breast cancer awareness with Divas For A Cure. I started checking out my trike, (Harley Davidson-Ultra Classic) on what new things I could get for her, purchasing pink shirts and even a pink sun visor with pink shoes then the word came.

I have been diagnosed with breast cancer twice and lung cancer once. For those of you that have been through any form of cancer or any life changing diagnosis, you know the feeling of what a serious diagnosis means.

A few weeks before I met with my oncologist, I knew something was wrong, because I felt a lump under my arm. “Your recent mammography examination showed a finding that requires additional imaging studies for a complete evaluation. Most such findings are benign (not cancer).”

Sesamestreet & SunnyThis quote from a recent letter I received regarding my mammogram changed my attempt to ride. Although the quote does not state that I have a recurrence just the idea of “requires additional imaging studies” out weights any future planning for the trip right now.

It saddens me, that I have to drop out of the ride, but I am not dropping out of celebrating with the Divas. When I spoke with Sunny on Sunday (June 4) she knew how hurt I was that I will not be riding with her. It was a spiritual meeting for the both of us when we met. Obstacles that kept us from meeting early on have now strengthened our new found friendship.

Sandra Jackson-aka-SesamestreetI will be with my “sisters” and “brothers” in spirit and will be holding down the home front. I am also going to try to ride at least to Phoenix, AZ, if all of the “imaging studies” are done by the time everyone leaves. Life is good and if the “imaging studies” proves to be a recurrence it will be round four of a major fight. I’ll do what I gotta do.

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Gone But Not Forgotten

Janet Downes
Passed away on March 8, 2007.

Her Story...
My name is Janet Downes and I’m a 7 year breast cancer fighter. I don’t call myself a survivor anymore as I’ve been truly battling this disease. We’ve gone many rounds in this fight but I refuse to give up or let it beat me. It may win eventually but I’m going to go down swinging hard and leave my own bruises on it. Read More...

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Gone but never forgotten.

Mary Elizabeth Clemons

Mary Elizabeth Clemons - (1946 - 2000)

Vivian Douglass

Vivian Douglass - (1937 - 1999)

Susan Eula Johnson

Susan Johnson - (1955 - 2005)



Dianna M. Cool-Llorens

Dianna M. Cool-Llorens - (2005)



Dr. Carol Welton Kelly

Dr. Carol Welton Kelly - (1944 - 2002)



Tracey Giselle Gibson

Tracey Giselle Gibson - (1963 - 2006)



Judy Candis

Judy Candis - (1950 - 2006)



Janet Onita Foster

Janet Foster -
(1950 - 2006)



Janet Downes

Janet Downes - March 8, 2007



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