Young breast cancer survivor encourages screenings

Young breast cancer survivor...

MILFORD, Del. - Over 400 people standing side-by-side with pink hard hats on, provided a unique image in support of a local effort.

Folks from Bayhealth, Poole and Kent Corporation along with others joined forces at the construction site of Bayhealth's new cancer center to bring awareness to 'Protect Yourself. Get Screened Today.'

Organizers say this effort to raise awareness for breast cancer is important for women who need to get screened.

"The unbelievable work that will happen once the facility is completed and the cancer center and just bring awareness to the disease of breast cancer to make sure that the men and women take the time and think about it. It's all awareness, to think about it and actually get screened with hopes that we'll save lives," says Poole and Kent Corp. CEO Adam Snavely.

When they formed that pink human ribbon, they weren't just focused on raising awareness about breast cancer, but also on a local woman, who knows firsthand what it's like to beat breast cancer and how important screenings really are.

"I don't fit the mold."

Laurie Riha is an active 47-year-old, an Asst. Project Manager for Poole and Kent Corp., a wife, a dog lover.

Laurie is also a two-time breast cancer survivor.
"I was diagnosed in 2006 and had a recurrence in 2008. I was only 35-years-old, so I did not fall within the recommended screening guidelines," says Riha.

At 35-years-old, Laurie was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, a diagnosis that would not have been made in time if she didn't get screened.

"I was fortunate that my doctor said let's take a look at this and then I went got the letter in the mail I followed the recommendation and I went back and found out that it was cancer."

But for Laurie and most young women, getting screened at a young age isn't common.

Laurie says it's because young women don't fit the mold of when breast cancer should happen.
"You think it's not normal but young women can and do get breast cancer a lot of young women can and do get breast cancer and unfortunately when it's a younger woman the disease is usually much more aggressive and they're misdiagnosed early," says Riha.

After surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation twice, Laurie beat her cancer. Her journey, she hopes serves a reminder that it can happen to anybody at any age.

"Know you're body, know your doctor so your doctor knows your body, follow you're instinct and if there's anything recommended do it."

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