November 18, 2016
Filed Under: NEWS & MEDIA
DEFEAT WAS NEVER AN OPTION | FEATURING CINDY WEEKS
Friday November 18, 2016
Article By: Luis Parades
Our motto here at Fight To End Cancer is “Defeat Is Not An Option”. This rings true for every single person who has been affected by cancer in any way, and for everybody fighting to make a change because of it. For Cindy Weeks, defeat is most certainly not an option. Cindy fought the toughest fight of her life when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. Cindy went in for a routine mammogram, and came out a changed person.
After fighting through years of many different treatments, Cindy endured a mastectomy to remove her breast in 2009. Unfortunately, two years later in 2011 she found out that she had metastasis, which meant that the cancer had spread to other parts of her body such as her liver, the lining of her chest wall, and her ribs. Cindy and her friends and family were understandably very scared, but she did not let this slow down her fight! She continued to fight back against the disease and with the help of family, friends, and her doctors she has now been in remission for 7 years.
In 2015 Cindy got to see her close friend Georgia Curtis step into the ring for the first time ever and fight at the 2015 Fight To End Cancer Gala. Georgia put herself through a year of training, hard work, and dedication to be able to fight in the gala to raise funds for cancer research. Georgia ended up being victorious in her fight, and dedicated her win to her dear friend Cindy Weeks, but in Cindy’s words,
“No one loses in a night like that, everyone is a winner!”
Cindy credits her 7 years of being in remission to all the money raised for cancer research, because without it there wouldn’t be as many treatment options as there are today. Because of ongoing cancer research, Cindy has been given more time to enjoy life and to continue her fight, because defeat truly is not an option for her. We reached out to Cindy to see how she was doing and to get more insight into her personal fight with cancer.
INTRODUCING CANCER SURVIVOR CINDY WEEKS
What were the emotions and thoughts that ran through your mind when you were first diagnosed?
I have had cancer in my family, and when I found out that I had cancer, I was very scared at first. I discovered I had cancer when I went in for a routine mammogram. I had breast cancer and had to undergo chemotherapy and had to remove my breast as well. My fear grew when I found out that the cancer had spread, because the average life expediency for women is two years when that occurs. However, I fought and managed to live longer with the different treatment options that were given to me. Having research for cancer is important because without it I wouldn’t have these options. I have been in remission for 7 years now which is huge!
While you were fighting cancer, many people would get depressed or down, was there something that lifted your spirits? An activity or place that helped you get through the difficult times?
There was a lot of down times and challenges for me, I was lucky that I had kayaking and Paddling. Paddling let me feel nature and be with my community with one goal, skinny dipping. I felt really close to nature. It fed me in a way that it’s indescribable. I always felt better and stronger. It was also nurturing myself and eating whatever I wanted to eat. “Ice cream is food” treat yourself well, whatever gets you to that line, whatever gets you to the end of chemo.
After seeing the statistics of metastasis and feeling very scared, who were the people who helped you the most while you battled with your cancer?
Friends and family just pulled right up. I also had support groups to help me cope and move forward. It was a surprise to me to see so many people reach out and offer me help. I was very surprised at all the love and support that came from people in my community. I even had my local clergy reach out to help to me and offer support.
What would you say was the hardest part of your journey so far?
I would say the hardest part of my journey, was telling my loved ones that I had cancer and seeing everyone’s reactions. It was very hard for me when I had to tell my brother and my partner and watch them deflate in front of my eyes. The hardest out of all was telling my mother about my cancer and how it spread.
After your experience with cancer, what piece of advice or words of wisdom would you give to someone who has just found out they had cancer.
The first thing I would say is, it’s going to be ok and you’re going to manage it. People are living longer. It is initially very scary, but once you sit down with it a little bit more and settle down, you can be at this stage or at the stage where many people are managing it and getting through it! You are going to be ok! Together you we will get through it!
What did it mean to you, when you found out that your good friend Georgia Curtis was dedicating her fight at the Fight to End Cancer to you?
She said she was fighting and I couldn’t believe she was doing it. Georgia was really happily surprised by how much everyone was committed and working hard for Fight To End Cancer. Georgia just loved the spirit that everyone had and she really loved how everyone became a family. I was surprised that Georgia was learning how to box and was doing all of this. She was going to get punched and punch others all to raise money for this cause. I felt so proud of Georgia for getting in the ring and boxing, I was really happy that she won her fight as well, but everyone wins in a night like that. I was also very moved and lucky that I have a friend like Georgia going out there and raising money not only for me but for other people. I was totally blown away and in awe of what Georgia did!
The goal of Fight To End Cancer is to raise money for cancer research. What do you think cancer research did for you and why do you think we should keep raising money for more research?
For me it was very simple, I believe that everyone is doing the best they can. These people are raising funds that go into hospitals that gave me another choice in medications when one wasn’t working, giving me more time on my life. I had to go through 4 medications before I was able to find the one that was right for me, that stopped my cancer from growing and stopped it in its tracks. Now if we don’t have and fund these trials there wouldn’t be the options that we have now. In the past I saw that there were only 2 options in medications for people, but with research there are a lot more options now for men and women that are making their lives last longer. I believe that it is critical that there is money raised because it’s just needed.
What words of encouragement would you give to the fighters selected for next year’s Fight To End Cancer while they undergo their training?
If they are having a really tough day, I would say “just forget about it, tomorrow is a new day, you have to keep moving and keep going forward!” They can’t be quitters, I was doing a bunch of chemo and I was close to the end. I told my nurse “I just can’t do this, I’m not going to make it” and she just replied “Just forget about it, your week is over and you’re not going to have anymore next week so just forget about it” and with those words of encouragement she was able to finish all her rounds of chemo.
Cindy’s story is an inspirational one for all of us at The Fight To End Cancer. She is a true fighter and we will continue help to her in her journey. As Cindy said, without cancer research she wouldn’t be where she is right now. With your help we can raise money to end cancer once and for all! So we challenge you to help out in any way that you can so that we can help provide more options for people like Cindy who are battling cancer, with the final goal in mind to knock out cancer forever!
The fight doesn’t end at the end of the gala, the battle is just beginning! With your help we can finally Knock Out cancer once and for all!