Rochelle Bradley and Fran Robinson, close friends and co-workers at Sycuan Casino will share their survival stories to spotlight breast cancer awareness in San Diego County

fran and rochelle hugging

Rochelle and Fran. Friends. Co-workers. Breast Cancer Survivors. Yet their stories couldn’t be more different.

Susan G. Komen San Diego is proud to announce the 19th Annual Race for the Cure Honorary Survivors. Rochelle Bradley of San Diego, Calif., and Fran Robinson of Lakeside, Calif., have been named co-honorary survivors for the event slated to take place Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015 in Balboa Park.

 

“The 5K & 1 mile walk/run raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrates survivors and honors those who have lost their battle,” said Laura Farmer Sherman, president & CEO, Susan G. Komen San Diego. “Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from the event will go to local breast health services and programs and the remaining 25 percent will go to international research.”

 

Komen San Diego is the County’s largest provider of free breast cancer treatments, services and support and next to the U.S. government, Komen is the largest funder of breast cancer research. As co-honorary survivors, Rochelle and Fran will share their powerful stories helping raise awareness of breast cancer in San Diego.

 

Rochelle and Fran, who work together at Sycuan Casino, have been friends for five years. They are both mothers to adult sons. They both have been part of Sycuan Casino’s Race for the Cure team for years, which is the largest Race for the Cure team in the history of the race series with over 600 teammates. Yet their stories couldn’t be more different.

 

Rochelle has a family history of breast cancer, Fran doesn’t. Rochelle’s breast cancer is in remission, Fran is fighting advanced breast cancer at this very moment. But their respective battles with breast cancer have forged a bond beyond friendship. Rochelle and Fran’s stories show that breast cancer has no bounds, which is why awareness of the disease is so important.

 

Rochelle Bradley’s story

“I learned that many of my family members had breast cancer.”

 

In 2008, Rochelle was flying to see her dad who was dying from breast cancer. While she was on a layover she got the call he passed before she even got there.

 

“I hadn’t been to Michigan in years and when I arrived, I was stunned to see that my cousins and aunts had visible tumors,” said Bradley. “I had no words. I also learned how aggressive and extensive impact breast cancer had on my family.”

 

It was shocking for her to see her family this way, battling the very disease she fought herself two years prior. In 2006, Rochelle had been diagnosed with Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a type of breast cancer and had undergone radiation. She didn’t even tell her doctors that her father had breast cancer because she didn’t think it was important and she didn’t know the severity of it. After her shocking visit home, she realized her situation was much worse than originally thought.

 

“As soon as I returned to San Diego I called my oncologist and got the genetic testing, which proved my original diagnosis was worse, I had tested positive for the BRCA II mutation,” said Bradley. “I then had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy in 2009. I have been in remission since March 2006.”

 

Testing positive for the BRCA I and BRCA II genetic mutation increases ones risk of a breast cancer diagnosis by 45 to 65 percent. On Rochelle’s father side both his mother and father were carriers of the genetic mutation, which increased her risk of breast cancer.

fran and rochelle walking

Fran Robinson’s Story

“I think I walked into this so blind because I didn’t know anyone who had cancer.”

Unlike Rochelle, Fran did not have any family history of breast cancer so she didn’t think she was at risk.

“It is a common misconception that if you don’t have a family history you are in the clear,” said Farmer Sherman. “The very opposite is true. Ninety-five percent of breast cancers are not genetic.”

Fran was diligent about getting a mammogram every year. She found a lump on her chest and wasn’t too concerned as she had gotten a clean mammogram six month earlier. As a precaution she went to her family doctor. The doctor sent her to get yet another mammogram as well as an ultrasound. The second mammogram again showed nothing. She wasn’t getting any readings from her mammograms; however, the ultrasound did and it was scary. Fran was diagnosed with Stage III Triple Negative breast cancer and her tumor was rapidly growing.

She has been battling breast cancer since 2010, undergoing round and rounds of chemo and radiation, doctor visits. Fran keeps fighting, but the cancer keeps coming back, every time. During Fran’s brave battle she has only taken a total of 90 days off work and also dealt with a divorce against a cancer that just won’t relent.

“I should have asked more questions. I wondered, but didn’t always ask, I just was unsure of what to ask. I did research on the computer about Triple Negative breast cancer, but that always left me depressed, scared and crying,” said Fran.

With no history of breast cancer in her family, she learned she has advanced breast cancer and began a different form of chemo and radiation. Metastatic breast cancer (also called stage IV or advanced breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body (most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain). Fran credits her personal support group at work, such as Rochelle, her friends and her faith in God while she continues her fight.

“I think we need to be around people, because we inspire them and they inspire us to keep going,” said Fran.

Fran decided to share her story as a Susan G. Komen San Diego co-honorary survivor in hopes of helping others. Fran’s advice to other women is to stay on top of your doctors, ask questions and to write everything down.

When San Diegans participate in the 2015 Race for the Cure, their donations go directly to help breast cancer patients in San Diego County, as well as toward research grants internationally. With $1 million invested this year alone, Komen San Diego continues to be the County’s largest provider of free breast cancer treatments, services and support.

 

“We selected Rochelle and Fran for their unwavering courage in the face of this devastating disease,” continued Farmer Sherman. “These two remarkable women, who are like sisters, inspire us each and every day with their bravery, poise and dedication to helping save lives by sharing their inspiring stories.”

 

On November 1, Rochelle, Fran and more than 15,000 San Diegans will join together to participate in the 2015 Race for the Cure.

 

Participating in the Race helps Komen provide free services for every step of the breast cancer journey:

  • Diagnostic mammograms, biopsies, MRI’s, ultrasounds and more for qualified women who have nowhere to turn when breast cancer strikes
  • Temporary financial aid – including rent, mortgage, prescription drug payments and more
  • Meal delivery for a woman and her entire family
  • Intensive patient navigation – complete with emotional support for all
  • The world’s largest investment of breast cancer research – next to the U.S. government. Right now, $42 million is at work to find the cure!
  • Wherever there’s a gap – Komen San Diego fills it

EVENT CALENDAR DETAILS:

Event: Susan G. Komen San Diego 19th Annual Race for the Cure

Date: Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015

Time: 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Location: Balboa Park; Start: 6th Ave at Palm St.

Media trucks park on 6th Ave. in front of the start line by the stage between Palm St. and Olive St.

Registration/Website: http://komensandiego.org/race/

 

Local Presenting Sponsors are Hologic, Inc., Jerome’s Furniture Store, Ralphs and Food for Less. The Local Presenting Media Sponsors are CBS 8, JACK FM and 760 AM. Platinum sponsors include Chevron and Anderson Plumbing, Heating and Air.

For additional information about the Race for the Cure click here. Sponsorships are available. For more information, contact Flora Hoang at flora@sdkomen.org. Please support Race for the Cure on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/KomenSanDiego and please use the hashtag #RaceforTheCureSD and #RaceforTheCure