American Cancer Society's 5K walk raises money for breast cancer awareness and research 

click to enlarge Siri-Ogg-Photo.jpg

Just after her 30th birthday, Siri Ogg did a Dirty 30 mud run to celebrate the milestone. She was in the shower washing off the mud and discovered a lump in her breast.

“I’m young, I’m healthy, I don’t have much of a family history of breast cancer,” Ogg said. “Everything was pointing to a cyst, but I made an appointment with my primary care physician anyway. At that appointment she told me, ‘Breast cancer is really low on my radar,’ but she sent me to a specialist just to be safe.”

However, her mammogram showed a fairly good-sized lump.

“The doctor told me a biopsy was needed,” Ogg said. “I said, ‘For a cyst?’”

The doctor said it wasn’t a cyst but a solid mass. For the first time, Ogg felt anxiety.

“When I was told the biopsy had come back positive as cancer, I was determined not to do the stereotypical thing of not hearing anything else they tell you,” she said. “I did pretty good for about three minutes. It was when she started going into the treatment plan that I became completely overwhelmed.”

Ogg had stage two triple-negative breast cancer with multiple tumors in her right breast. Treatment included eight chemotherapy rounds.

She then had a double mastectomy followed by radiation.

“Chemo, mastectomy, radiation, reconstruction; this was not the ‘easy’ solution I was hoping for,” Ogg said. “I was completely overwhelmed, disheartened and essentially feeling like my life was over when it was clear this would be a one- to two-year process.”

Six months later, the cancer returned and Ogg again had surgery before undergoing more radiation.

“While I knew it was treatable, that I probably wasn’t going to die, I was still mourning the loss of my life before cancer,” she explained, “because this was definitely going to change everything.”

Ogg’s survival story is one of many. In Oklahoma, American Cancer Society statistics estimate 2,760 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 530 will die from it.

“As terrible as breast cancer is, the one thing that has stood out is how loved I’ve felt through it all,” she said. “Of course there have been breakdowns, plenty of tears, but what’s kept me going is knowing everyone — family, friends, other survivors and even strangers — are encouraging and supporting me through it all. No matter what, love is stronger than cancer, always and in all ways.”

Raising funds and awareness to help end breast cancer is the goal of the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk. It starts 9 a.m. Nov. 5 in the Oklahoma City Adventure District, 2801 NE 50th St. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

Since the walk was founded in 1993, more than 12 million supporters have raised more than $750 million to help finish the fight against breast cancer, said Ashley Bowlin, Oklahoma City event manager.

Last year, more than 1 million walkers across the country raised $60 million for American Cancer Society.

ProCure Proton Therapy Center medical director Gary Larson said he supports American Cancer Society campaigns for very personal reasons.

“I have taken care of thousands of women with breast cancer, and for the most part, it is one of the more gratifying types of cancer to treat since early detection usually results in a good prognosis, a likelihood of being cured,” he said. “Some women, however, have more aggressive forms of this disease, and we still have a long way to go to help improve their prognosis.”

Larson’s daughter died at age 21 from an extremely rare form of breast cancer.

“The American Cancer Society does more than any other organization to help with research into curing this disease,” he said.

Visit makingstrideswalk.org/okcok.

Print headline: Hopeful strides, American Cancer Society’s Making Strides awareness and fundraising walk is Nov. 5 in Oklahoma City.

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Mark Beutler

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