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When breast cancer strikes close to home BY MEGAN ALLEY Sun staff

Breast cancer can affect anyone. Angela Allen, 58, of Goshen, works in classified and retail sales for The Sun Publishing Company; she’s been with the company since 1978. In February 2009, Allen was diagnosed with breast cancer. Allen, who admittedly “doesn’t go to doctors unless I have no other choice,” made an appointment to see her gynecologist after some health issues she was experiencing led her to believe she might need a hysterectomy; Allen had not had a Pap smear or mammogram in 15 years. During the visit, Allen’s gynecologist performed a Pap smear and made an appointment for her to get a mammogram later that day. “There’s no history of breast cancer in my family whatsoever, so I wasn’t worried about it,” Allen said. The results of the mammogram revealed a suspicious lump in her right breast, and her doctor ordered a biopsy.

“I still wasn’t worried in the least,” Allen said. “I’ve had mammogram results where they would find something, but it always turned out okay.” Her doctor performed the biopsy within a week of the mammogram results, and soon after, Allen received the news that she had breast cancer. “The nurse called my cell phone when I was at work and told me it was cancer. She said it wasn’t a real aggressive cancer but that it wasn’t a real slow cancer either,” Allen recalled. “Even when they told me I had cancer, I felt fine. I wasn’t afraid because I thought to myself that the worst thing that could happen would be that I would die and go to heaven.” Allen is deeply rooted in her faith; she attends Williams Corner Church of God in Goshen. “In fact, I was more concerned about not wanting to renew a 2-year contract on my cell phone if I wasn’t going to be around to use it,” she added. Allen’s doctors scheduled surgery for March to remove the lump, which was determined to Stage I, or lo-

calized; the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. “There was less cancer there than what they had originally seen,” she said. Allen credits the power of God and prayer for giving her strength and positivity during her treatment. “I had a lot of people praying for me,” she said. While her doctor confirmed that he had removed the entirety of the cancerous lump, he recommended Allen move ahead with radiation therapy. “I believed in God’s ability to heal, but I also know that God can work through doctors, so I decided have the treatment,” she said. For the next six weeks, Allen drove an extra two hours after work each day to go to her radiation treatments at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. “That was a pretty grueling time; I was on the road a total of four hours each day,” she said. “I was working shorter days to make my appointments and I don’t know how I would have gotten by without the support of my co-workers, who were taking on extra work to help out.”

Allen also recalled the generosity extended to her by The Kroger Co., who, through the hospital, donated pre-paid gas cards to patients in treatment. “I really appreciated that; it was a nice little perk,” she said. When Allen finished her radiation treatment, she was given the free and clear by her doctor. Her experience as a breast cancer survivor made her faith in God stronger and brought her and her husband, Drew, closer together; the two have been married for 39 years. The experience also made Allen appreciate the small things in life more than she had before. “No one knows when our time comes,” she said. While Allen usually shies away from talking about her experience having breast cancer, she was moved to do so to educate others and give God the glory. “I encourage women to go and get checked out,” she said. “Don’t wait until your body’s telling you that something is wrong because you might not be as blessed as I was; it could be too late.”

PHOTO / PROVIDED

Angela Allen

Establishing the pink ribbon symbol The pink ribbon has been synonymous with breast cancer for years. Nowadays, people rarely think twice when they see pink ribbons, having grown accustomed to the pink ribbon and what it symbolizes. Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been celebrated each year since 1985, and many other breast cancer awareness initiatives have been devised since then. While the pink ribbon may seem like it’s been in use for

just as long, it was actually established only about 20 years ago. Ribbons have long symbolized something important. For decades, yellow ribbons have been used to alert others to soldiers at war or hostages that hadn’t yet come home. People often tie yellow ribbons around trees at home until their service men and women came home safely. Although the pink ribbon evolved because pink expresses femininity, calm,

health, and youth, the first breast cancer ribbon was actually peach. Charlotte Haley is credited with devising the first breast cancer ribbon in 1992. She was a breast cancer survivor and came from a family of women who also fought the disease. She created peach-colored loops at home and then distributed the ribbons at her local grocery stores. Haley encouraged people to wear the ribbons and contact legislators to demand more funding

for breast cancer research. An attached note was distributed with the ribbons stating, "The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon." The same year Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president for the Estee Lauder company, and Self magazine editor Alexandra Penney teamed up to pro-

duce a pink ribbon. It was distributed at makeup counters all across the country. The company collected more than 200,000 pink ribbon petitions asking the government for increased funding for breast cancer research. Although Lauder and Haley reached people on different levels, their goals were the same: To educate the public on the lack of funds allotted to breast cancer research. Pink ribbons are now seen all over and have become the

uniting force for millions of women who are facing breast cancer or supporting someone with the disease. Although you can see waves of pink every October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many people don their ribbons year-round. Great strides have been made with respect to breast cancer, but with about 225,000 new cases popping up each year in the United States alone, there is still work to be done.

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Organization hopes to expand reach in Clermont County BY KELLY CANTWELL Editor

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When Tracie Martin was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago at age 30, she was raising two young children and didn’t know anyone who could relate. “I just felt completely alone,” Martin said, adding that getting breast cancer before age 40 is incredibly rare. However, what Martin, who lives on the west side of Cincinnati, did have that not all women fighting breast cancer have is a strong support system, made up of family, friends and her fellow church members. “The people that surrounded me, my family and friends, were just invaluable,” Martin said. Her friends did things like clean her house and take her to doctor appointments. Martin, who describes herself as “fortunate” for catching her cancer early, had a double masectomy so that if the cancer came back, she knew she did everything she could the first time. She is not sure how she would have made it through without her support system. “It enabled me to concentrate on the things I needed to concentrate on, and that was a lifesaver,” Martin said. Pink Ribbon Girls who born out of that. However, it was really when Martin’s friend, Heather Salazer, asked her about expanding the program to Dayton five years ago and, with that, “firm up” everything that Martin was doing, that the program became what it is today. The organization has three programs: Simply Fight, which provides services to patients with Stage IIII breast and women’s reproductive cancer, No Age No Stage, which provides services to patients with metastatic breast and women’s reproductive cancer, and Love Your Girls, which is an educational outreach program. The organization provides three free services to women who have breast cancer or a reproductive cancer, although Martin added that she would also provide these services to men with breast cancer as well. There are no income

or age restrictions for the services. “You fight your cancer and we help lighten your load,” Martin said. The first service is meals for the patient and her family three times a week. The meals, which are prepared by a chef, are heart-healthy, organic, nutrient dense food that is good for cancer patients, and, Martin said, is delicious. The family receives enough individually packaged and frozen meals to feed each family member. “It just eliminates a lot of stress and anxiety,” Martin said. Pink Ribbon Girls also provides a twice-a-month house cleaning service for two months. The women get to choose what two months they receive the cleaning service, so they can pick a month they are receiving chemotherapy, for example. The third service the organization provides is rides to treatment. Pink Ribbon Girls currently works with Kim Borcherding, a Buick and GMC dealer in Cincinnati, for cars to use. Martin would love to find a car dealership on the east side of Cincinnati that would be willing to arrange a similar partnership. She is also looking for businesses that would be willing to partner in other ways, such as wrapping a vehicle in pink. Auxier Gas, Inc., a company located in Batavia that supplies propane, originally supported the American Breast Cancer Association with a pink vehicle, but felt there was no real relationship there, said Eric Sears, customer relations representative. Then, Sears met Martin. “We felt that there was a better opportunity for real work to be done and we would be able to feel better about what we are supporting because we can see the results of where our pink truck is going,” Sears said. By supporting Pink Ribbon Girls, Sears is able to meet and hear stories of people impacted locally by the organization. “That is where we really get our warm fuzzies from,” Sears said. Since beginning to partner with the organization, Sears does not feel they made the wrong choice.

PHOTO / KELLY CANTWELL

Auxier Gas, Inc., a propane supplier located in Batavia, sponsors Pink Ribbon Girls, an organization that provides free services to patients with breast cancer or reproductive cancer. One of Auxier’s trucks is painted to show the company’s support.

“If anything we feel stronger about it,” he said. Auxier Gas not only supports Pink Ribbon Girls, but supports other organizations, such as the Veterans Airlift Command. “We’re a local company and we want to make sure we are impacting our community,” Sears said. All the money that Pink Ribbon Girls raises stays local. The organization currently workings in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus and is expanding to northern Ohio. “We’re really just kind of hometown proud,” Martin said. This month, Lady of Sun, a company located in Eastgate Mall that recently celebrated its first anniversary, is partnering with Pink Ribbon Girls to help raise money for the organization. Lady of Sun provides airbrush tans and sells organic beauty products. “Tracie is just amazing,” said Erin Neace, owner. She felt that the organization’s work to empower women fit with her company’s goal. In addition, Neace has not only watched some of her family members battle breast cancer, but many of her clients have breast cancer and come in to get an airbrush tan because they can’t be out in the sun or use a UV tanning bed. “It makes us feel good to make them feel good,” Neace said. The tan gives these women a glow and a confi-

PHOTO / PROVIDED

From left, Tracie Martin, founder and director of development for Pink Ribbon Girls, stands with Heather Salazar, CEO of Pink Ribbon Girls. The organization, which provides free services to those battling breast cancer or a woman’s reproductive cancer, is trying to reach more people in Clermont County.

dence boost without putting them in danger, she added. During October, anyone who donates $5 to Pink Ribbon Girls can get a custom tan for $30, a $40 value. In addition, raffle tickets are available to win a year of free spray tanning, a $540 value. All of the proceeds will go to Pink Ribbon Girls. Raffle tickets are available $5 for one ticket, $10 for two tickets and $20 for five tickets. The winner will be announced Nov. 1. For more information, go to

ladyofsun.com and click on Events & Coupons. Lady of Sun will be selling Pink Ribbon Girls merchandise in their store, which the organization will receive all the proceeds from, and will be donating 20 percent of the proceeds from the company’s breast cancer awareness merchandise to the organization. Neace also had a chance to promote the organization when she was filmed spray tanning comedian Gary Owens for a skit that will air on Black Entertainment Tel-

evision on Oct. 11. She described what Martin is doing as “inspiring,” and said she wants to do whatever she can to help. Martin is excited to see how Pink Ribbon Girls continues to grow. “It’s been great. I’m really proud of where we are and where we came from,” Martin said. To get involved, volunteer or make a donation, email Martin at tmartin@pinkribbongirls.or g, call 877-269-5367 or go to pinkribbongirls.org.

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Raffle highlights Batavia pink game BY GARTH SHANKLIN Sports Editor

Schools all across the county host pink games in October to do their part to raise awareness and funds for various breast cancer causes. The Batavia Bulldogs are no different, though this year’s game saw the effect of breast cancer hit closer to home. Batavia’s boys’ soccer team battled Western Brown on Sept. 29 in what doubled as the team’s pink game, as well as senior night. In addition to the action on the field, raffles were held throughout the night for 21 baskets featuring items ranging from school supplies to a soccer ball signed by the entire Batavia team. Other themed baskets included baking, kids’ fun packs, a pink ribbon basket and a bath and body basket. Jennifer Moles, the team mom, organized all the baskets. The Batavia Business Professionals of America, led by Angie Kovacs, ran the raffles and helped hand out pink ribbons at the event. Kovacs praised Moles for the “hours” of work put in on the baskets. “Mrs. Moles volunteered several hours to put the baskets together,” Kovacs said. “She did an amazing job,

the event couldn’t have happened without her.” The BPA staffed the raffle table, sold tickets to fans in the stands and helped distribute the baskets to the winners after the event, which according to Kovacs was “successful.” “We raised over $900 for the mother of a student going through treatment right now,” Kovacs said. That student is a player on the Batavia soccer team, as well as a member of the BPA. Kovacs said the chapter also handed out 450 pink ribbons for fans to wear during the game. “Our chapter began handing out the ribbons the first year we joined with the men’s team for Kick for the Cure,” Kovacs said. “We had 450 ribbons and all were given out. I’m sure some students were wearing more than one.” According to Batavia head coach Kevin Scheel, the team has used the ‘Kick for the Cure’ night to benefit various charities in the past, ranging from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to a local shelter. He added that this year’s event was especially important since it “hit the family.” “The team took it upon themselves to make it a memorable night,” Scheel said. “It’s a small amount,

PHOTO / PROVIDED

Batavia Business Professionals of America chapter historian Collin Sammons and president Dylan Young work the raffle table at the Batavia Kick for the Cure night on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.

but it’s more about what that signifies.” Scheel said the team has tried to branch out to other causes in the past. Thanks to the preseason soccer

tournament Batavia hosts, the team had the funds to purchase the pink jerseys. Scheel considered adding teal uniforms, but he could not find any.

Regardless, Scheel and the Bulldogs will continue to use this game to raise awareness of important issues not just in the community, but on the team itself.

“It’s all about developing an interest and supporting a cause,” Scheel said. “We have a good group of guys and they want to get involved.

TQL shines light on Breast Cancer Awareness Month WHO – Total Quality Logistics WHAT – TQL will light up its corporate headquarters in pink ribbons to celebrate the American Cancer Society’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. WHEN – Starting at dusk Saturday, Oct. 1, and running every night of the month through sunrise. WHERE – TQL’s corporate headquarters, 4289 Ivy Pointe Blvd. Cincinnati., OH 45245. WHY – To show support for those fighting against – and remember those who have lost their battle with breast cancer. WHAT ELSE - TQL conducts its annual Loads for a Cure event Oct. 17 to 23, donating a portion of every load moved that week to the American Cancer Society. TQL and its employees have given more than $160,000 to the ACS and breast cancer research since 2010.

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