GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A two-time breast cancer survivor and her adult daughter have been through a lot together. Becky Vander Zwaag from Zeeland was with her mother Bev Vandenbosch every step of the way.
"It's a miracle really that I am here. I beat it twice and she's here with me," Vandenbosch said.
Vander Zwaag knew she was also at risk for breast cancer, so when she found a lump 10 years ago, she suspected the worst. She made a doctor’s appointment immediately but didn’t know how she’d pay for her medical bills because her family had just lost their health insurance.
A grant from the Susan G. Komen West Michigan affiliate covered her costs. "I was in the recovery room and someone had come in and told me Susan G. Komen had picked up the entire tab for it," Vander Zwaag said.
The lump wasn't cancerous. Vander Zwaag later got genetic testing and learned she and her mother shared the breast cancer gene.
Vander Zwaag had a preventative mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting breast cancer as her mother received treatment for her second breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year. Both are doing well and are grateful for the local Komen affiliate.
Vander Zwaag said she loves that the new event is a walk instead of a run.
"I think it's going to be great. Especially for people [who are scared by the run], or don't think they're athletic enough to do it," she said.
It’s a 1.5 mile walk held at John Ball Park. The new walk will make it easier for all people affected by breast cancer to participate; particularly survivors who have metastatic breast cancer, where there is no cure.
It’s Sept. 13. Don’t forget to remind your Friends for Life to do their monthly breast self-exams, have regular screenings and mammograms.
Know your normal.
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