Judy Nace, Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System

I was the head preschool teacher at the First United Methodist church in downtown Mishawaka for over 32 years and mostly known as “Miss Judy” to many Mishawaka residents.

After skipping one yearly mammogram, it was a co-worker who encouraged me to schedule one when Saint Joseph Health System’s Mobile Medical Unit was in the area. That’s where my breast cancer was discovered in 2012. For someone who considers herself a planner, having cancer definitely did not fit into my busy schedule — but in no way did it slow me down. Despite being zapped of energy most of the time, I continued to work throughout my chemotherapy. The amount of support I received from my family, as well as my students and their families was priceless. The support continued in June of 2013, where “Team Miss Judy” had 120 participants and was the largest fundraising team for the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

I always remained optimistic throughout my cancer journey and just knew that the end result was going to be fine. Cancer is NEVER a blessing. But it has brought so many blessings in the form of people into my life. It has made me realize what wonderful support is available in our area for cancer patients and survivors. The Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System is at the top of the support list, as well as Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Pink Zone. Their efforts and the Pink Zone proceeds allow the Women’s Task Force and Secret Sister Society to provide mammograms and breast cancer awareness and education for so many in our community. That, too, is priceless!

Kathy Ann Reinhardt, Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System

I almost put off my regular mammogram because I was getting ready for a family vacation, but something made me keep the appointment. Luckily I did, because that’s when my breast cancer was discovered, in 2010. I had a lumpectomy right away and a few days after, discovered the cancer was growing rapidly. A mastectomy followed with chemo and radiation. I had many people supporting me from my Oncologist and his staff to friends, colleagues, clients and my Church Family. However, I want everyone to know that the Lord is the one I credit for surviving cancer – “The Lord has given me a second chance for a reason, and I don’t plan to let Him down.”! Today, I am a passionate survivor, making sure that women get regular mammograms, especially those who may not be able to afford one. As the chairwoman of the 2013 Secret Sister’s Society event and a proud Chairwoman and member of the Women’s Task Force of SJRMC Foundation, I will continue to work hard to ensure that the women of our community have the resources and support they need to get the healthcare they deserve.

The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team and staff have been so supportive. As a cancer survivor, I feel so supported by Pink Zone and by all the efforts of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball! GO PINK and GO IRISH!

The Notre Dame Women’s Basketball team and staff have been so supportive. As a cancer survivor, I feel so supported by Pink Zone and by all the efforts of Notre Dame Women’s Basketball! GO PINK and GO IRISH!

Bettye Green, Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System

I have been a registered nurse for 38 years at Saint Joseph Health System. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 and am a 22-year breast cancer survivor. I have become deeply involved in breast cancer awareness and research and serve on numerous committees and boards, such as: Komen Foundation, President’s National Action Plan against Breast Cancer, American College of Surgical Oncology Group, Patient Advisory Board for Eli Lilly, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Northern Indiana Cancer Research Consortium and African American Women in Touch. I am currently the Community Outreach Coordinator and IRB Coordinator for Saint Joseph Health System. It is my personal and professional mission to help in any way possible to eradicate breast cancer and to keep black women informed of important health issues.

The Pink Zone has made a positive impact on our community and has touched so many lives. Just last year a lady came up and gave me a big hug because she was inspired to get her mammogram.

Pink Zone and Notre Dame Women’s Basketball are saving lives.

Monica Hoban

“Don’t wait — get it done!” That is what I tell every woman I meet. Despite having a mother, sister, grandmother and aunt with breast cancer, I skipped mammograms for over 3 years. Mainly because I was a busy wife and mom of 4, and was only 49 years old — my family members were all in their 60’s when their cancer was discovered. In 2010, I decided to get my overdue mammogram when Saint Joseph Health System ‘s Mobile Medical Unit was scheduled to visit the Notre Dame campus, where I work. The results were breast cancer and I underwent a mastectomy with reconstruction.

Today, I am more active than ever and passionate about encouraging other women to get mammograms. My community involvement includes Pink Zone at Notre Dame, Bras Around the Bend and Young Survivors, just to name a few. I am also a past member of the Women’s Task Force and I remain upbeat and positive about my life, grateful for where I am today.

Thank you to Notre Dame Women’s Basketball and Pink Zone for making a positive difference for many women in our community.

Anne Housemeyer, Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System

Five years ago in 2010, I faced a diagnosis of breast cancer. Cancer treatments are very difficult but my doctors and surgeon made things much easier to handle. My doctors were awesome and I very thankful for the wonderful care I received.

This year, I celebrated 33 happy years with my husband, Kevin, and we enjoy spending time with our daughter Amy, son-in-law Jacob, and 3-year-old grandson JJ, as well as attending Notre Dame Women’s Basketball and Volleyball games. Since my cancer treatments, I have become involved with the Kelly Cares Foundation, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System. I am a survivor and I have a passion to serve and help others battling cancer.

Thank you to NDWBB and Pink Zone for your outstanding efforts to help the Women’s Task Force and Secret Sisters Society provide mammograms, breast cancer awareness and education to women in our community. Early detection saves lives!

Judy Ciesialka, Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph Health System

March 23 will always be an important date on my calendar. In 2011, it was the date my test results confirmed that I had breast cancer. And in 2013, it was the date that I had the final procedure of my reconstruction surgery. All the days in those two years were filled with worries, surgeries, tears and a lot of prayers. I am grateful for all of the care I received from my wonderful doctors. It was also the love and support from my children, grandchildren, family and friends that got me through the challenging times. I joined the Women’s Task Force in 2013, because I feel so strongly about supporting other women struggling with cancer. I hope to have many more March 23rds to celebrate in my future.

Thank you, Pink Zone fans and Women’s Basketball, for your generosity and support! Go Irish!

 Demera Slaughter

At 20 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare breast cancer disease while eight months pregnant with our third child, Miya in January 2011. The doctors initially thought the self-examined lump was discovered as a result of “milk ducts” formed during what would be considered a normal pregnancy. Much to their surprise and of course, my family, I had contracted this genetically transmitted disease called triple negative breast cancer. The devastating news came three months after burying my grandmother, who unfortunately, died from an aggressive form of brain cancer only one month of receiving the horrific diagnosis.

I endured chemotherapy within three weeks of having Baby Miya and didn’t stop living my life as the young, vibrant, energetic woman she’s known to be. Once chemo, lumpectomy and radiation were complete, I was given a clean bill of health and ready to assume my duties as wife, mom, daughter, friend and most important of all, Breast Cancer Survivor.

I began a new career in banking, whereas before, I worked in the medical field. Upon reestablishing myself in the workforce, I received a call from my breast surgeon, who discovered through routine checkup, another lump formed and traces of cancer was found in the ovaries. Doctors agreed I needed another operation to fix the problem which consisted of a double mastectomy and full hysterectomy. December 10, 2013, I survived the excruciating nine-hour operation procedure that removed my breasts and female reproductive system and after several hospital visits, I’m now cancer FREE and living life again with caution. I’ll receive breast implants later January or February 2014 but feels good and improving daily. In March 2014, the breast implants were surgically inserted; however, resulted in the development of an infection throughout my body. It made me nauseous and feverish continuously for a period of a few days, at which point, I was hospitalized approximately two weeks. The doctors were concerned as they knew I needed the last procedure to make this entire process complete, reconstructive surgery. I endured this painful and final leg of the breast cancer disease in May 2014, by undergoing the knife one more time and is now grateful that after four and a half years, I am doing well and is fully recovered with my new breasts and a healthy four year old daughter!

I would like to encourage women to examine their breasts on a weekly basis. Also, if there’s a family history of breast cancer, please seek to have mammograms and possibly genetic testing performed to minimize the risk of developing either breast or ovarian cancer.

Life is so unpredictable which is why it’s so important to express to loved ones how you feel and show love while you can without regrets!!!