Breast cancer shows no discrimination. It affects people from every walk of life: the young and the old, both women and men. Every year, 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 40,000 women die from the disease. The good news is that early detection and aggressive therapies have given many more women a chance to live.
In FACES OF STRENGTH, the following people share their stories of survival:
Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, was diagnosed in March, 2009. She talks to Varon about her post-diagnosis struggle, her decision to go public and how she has moved forward to become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and outreach. Mitchell is the new spokeswoman for the Carolyn Y. Adams Breast Cancer Foundation.
Susan Axelrod, president of CURE (Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy) and wife of presidential advisor David Axelrod, is passionate about the advocacy group she helped co-found. For 18 years, she watched her daughter Lauren battle constant and debilitating seizures. In the midst of the turmoil, Axelrod was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. She recounts this trying period in her life when she was desperate to help her daughter while waging her own fight against breast cancer.
Lloyd Gordon is an 80-year-old restaurant consultant. He was diagnosed in 1986 and underwent a mastectomy. He is now cancer free. Gordon talks to Varon about the uncomfortable stigma he faced as a man with breast cancer.
Sara Leal of Chicago Heights was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer during a routine mammogram. She underwent a lumpectomy and radiation and is cancer free today. As a Latina, she is hoping to begin an outreach program to help many of the at-risk women in the Latino community.
Roz Varon was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in the summer of 2006. She talks candidly about her fears and daily challenges. ABC 7 cameras capture her experiences with targeted-therapy treatment and the CT scans that have become part of her routine. In addition, Varon talks about the unique bond she now shares with an ABC 7 viewer, also diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. They talk about their friendship and their united front against the disease.
FACES OF STRENGTH airs Thursday, October 22nd at 10:35 PM and Sunday, November 1st at 4:30 PM on ABC 7 Chicago. It will be available on demand at abc7chicago.com.
Holly Grisham and Roz Varon are the producers of FACES OF STRENGTH.