Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment?
I am very proud to be a JM Family Enterprises associate! One of the proudest days for me was during the 2007 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, of which JM Family was the presenting sponsor. I’m a breast cancer survivor and was asked by my company to say a few words and kick off the walk. I told my story in front of thousands of strangers, co-workers, family and friends and when I finished my speech and walked offstage, I removed my baseball cap and revealed my bald head! Until that day I wasn’t ready to just be out in public without a scarf or hat. Since then, I’ve mentored a few other co-workers who unfortunately have also had to battle breast cancer. I believe that was one of the lessons I learned during my journey – to help others going through it.
How have things changed for you through the years?
Going through a life-changing journey makes you look at things differently. I certainly appreciate time with my family and friends more.
What is the most important thing you have learned through the years?
People come and go from your life and may have served a purpose, but family and true friends are always there through the good and bad times.
How do you relax?
In the evenings on my balcony with a glass of wine overlooking the water and downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere in the mountains, but especially Jackson Hole, WY.
Is there an inspirational book you have read that you would recommend to others?
Yes, and I refer to it from time to time. The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer
Are you where you hoped you would be at this point in your life?
Not in all aspects of my life, but the most important is that I’m healthy!
When you were a little girl, what did you say you wanted to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher! I grew up with a neighbor’s kids – brother and sister – who were younger than me. We used to play school and I would be the teacher. To this day, Diana, the young girl from my childhood who was my “student”, still says I was a huge influence in her life. I must have been doing something right!
What word best describes your life right now?
Is there a non-profit event you really look forward to attending each year?
Glam-a-thon! Last year was my first year starting a team, Patty’s Pink Army, and I had so much fun at my fundraiser, attending the Glam events, and of course, the Glam Girl Strut! I walked away with one of the crowns for raising the most money based on the size of my team. I guess I have to “step” it up this year!
Who is your hero?
My mother. She is so giving, loving and unconditional and always has a smile on her face. Through good and bad times and when she isn’t feeling her best, she always puts her loved ones first.
What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
The mountains, cool weather, great scenery, great wine, great company and no cell phones!
What is your favorite sport?
Football – especially college football
What three things are always in your refrigerator?
Almond milk, blueberries, hummus. Not necessarily all eaten together!
What is your favorite room in your house?
What is your pet peeve?
What is your favorite Ice Cream flavor?
I ASKED PATTY TO GIVE ME A SHORT HISTORY OF HER CANCER!
I felt a lump on my right breast on Christmas night, 2006. After the holidays I scheduled an appointment to have it looked at. I was diagnosed on February 2, 2007 - a day after my ultrasound. Thankfully for my wonderful doctors at JM Family, the results were rushed and he had a plan laid out with my choices for my next steps on that Monday morning. By March 7 I was scheduled for my double mastectomy and started my 18 weeks chemo in April. It wasn't until November before all of my reconstruction surgeries were complete and I was put back together again!
Along this road I have been able to help others who are going through breast cancer. It’s a great feeling to be able to have learned so much through this journey and give hope to others.
I never imagined that I would have had the strength and courage to get through it. But my faith in God, the love of my family and friends is what helped me every step of the way.
A friend of mine told me in the beginning of my journey - “This is the walk you must walk right now, but soon you’ll be running again.” And now I'm 5+ years cancer-free! I have my sneakers on and ready to run in this life’s race. I’m looking at the road ahead of me and it’s a long one!