A Promise to Sophie:

The Story of 30Walk

 
 

I am often asked what inspired me to start 30WALK.  30WALK was an idea born during training walks for a breast cancer event that I participated in with my girlfriend Amy.  And from a promise I made to my daughter.


I was diagnosed with Stage 0 Ductal Carcinoma in Situ breast cancer (“DCIS”) on Friday January 13th, 2006.  That is a story just by itself!  Never again will I think of Friday the 13th as an ‘unlucky’ day!  Early diagnosis on that date saved my life.  While the cancer was found only on one side, I elected to have a double mastectomy, so a group of surgeons and a medical care team was gathered for my February 2, 2006 surgery date.  I chose this surgery for several reasons: it would eliminate the need for chemo, since it was caught so early, I wouldn’t have to worry about a possible recurrence on either side and I could begin the reconstruction process at the same time.


On my first visit to the oncologist, after surgery and pathology results were completed, I was surprised to learn that the DCIS had morphed into Triple Negative breast cancer (TNBC), (See February Newsletter) and invaded 1mm throughout the right side.  The time from diagnosis until surgery was less than 3 weeks!!  This now meant I had to fight a type of breast cancer with a lower survival rate and face one of my biggest fears…chemotherapy.  Chemo was the only treatment available for TNBC.


Between chemo treatments and starting a new job with a new girls’ clothing company, Justice ®, my daughter Sophie, who was 4 at the time, became my chemo helper.  She also helped me choose the style of wig I would wear each day.  At 4, she was inquisitive when I lost all my hair and was always there with a hug and a kiss to make the hurt go away for mommy.


One day, when she was helping me with a wig, she asked “Mommy, when I get breast cancer will you help me with my wigs?”  Well, it was all I could do not to cry on the spot.  And then…I got mad.  Mad that her world, at the innocent age of 4, was changed.


I promised Sophie that I would do everything I could to make sure that she would not get this disease.


It was Sophie’s promise that instilled my fighting spirit and I started thinking about possibilities.  Several other surgeries came and went and life got back to a new ‘normal’.  But always in the back of my mind, I was thinking: What can one mom do to make sure my daughter doesn’t get breast cancer?  I talked to a lot of women who had the same fear.  After surviving this breast cancer monster, what could we do to fight back besides donate to the cure, walk, talk about it etc…  My answer is 30WALK.


I am so blessed with an understanding, supportive husband, a beautiful daughter and friends who love and challenge me every day.  I beat the odds of TNBC and it is truly sweet, sweet justice that 30WALK will help other moms, their daughters and families by providing the awareness of specific steps we can take to lower our risk, and the risk of our daughters, being diagnosed later in life.


30WALK is moving into the on-line world and we will help our community discover new and fun ways to stay active, eat more fiber and have a great time strengthening our community resolve to rid the world of this disease.  We welcome you to get involved in our activities, become aware, to raise money for a cure, and to do what you can to never have to see our daughters face this monster called breast cancer.


~Spring 2011~

Karlie Saumier

 

30Walk Founder, Karlie Saumier and daughter Sophie

30W