We fall in love every month here at EOTS. Like hard.
Yes, we're ♥ hopeless romantics ♥ but that aside - we're crazy about our Survivors month after month, and folks, December is no different.
We know it's December not February (Cupid sighs) but even Santa applauds a good love story. (We mean, have you SEEN the Hallmark channel?)
Meet Torra Waynick, our current heartthrob for December.
Sure, she's beautiful (see above!) BUT we're smitten with her spirit and blown away by her FIRE!! And if you're East Coast like us, you need some heat (shivering as we type).
Torra's spark ignited back in 2015 when she received her breast cancer diagnosis and has been blazing ever since.
"I was no longer a spectator of the war against this disease, I had been drafted!"
She compared receiving the news with a nuclear bomb detonating inside her.
"It was my turn to suit up and steady - then ready myself to fight for my very own life," she recalled.
Prior to her deployment, Torra already knew how to gear up for a challenge being an avid kickboxer (see her in action above).
With this passion, and the combined support of her medical team, family, friends and network of sorority sisters (shout out to Delta Sigma Theta), Torra was equipped to crush this thing - and she did.
"Yes, I am not only a breast cancer survivor, I am a breast cancer conqueror and I continue to be a champion for breast cancer awareness, continuously advocating to all about the positive results from early detection."
Now a few years later - and cancer-free - it's clear Torra is still bringing the heat.
Like Torra, we advocate for early detection (see previous posts like this one) and cannot emphasize enough how greatly survival rates increase by catching breast cancer in its earliest stages versus later stages.
Take a look with us at some research from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database. (BTW: SEER stands for: surveillance, epidemiology, + end results)
In a study examining people diagnosed with breast cancer between 2007 and 2013, the 5-year relative survival rate for women with stage 0 or stage I breast cancer is close to 100% while the same for stage II breast cancer is about 93%, and stage III about 72%.
Not surprisingly metastatic, or stage IV breast cancers, which in many cases have spread to other parts of the body, are more difficult to treat and have a 5-year relative survival rate of about 22%.
It's important to note, that regardless of these percentages, within each stage there are treatment options available and in many cases they do produce successful results.
We only share these numbers to show the contrast between early detection (stage I or II) versus later stages (stage III or IV).
Click for more info on survival rates or the SEER program.
And if you're wondering what exactly relative survival rate means, we got you.
The National Cancer Institutes defines relative survival rate as: A way of comparing the survival of people who have a specific disease with those who don’t, over a certain period of time.
Basically, how the breast cancer survival rate stacks up - or relates - to the survival rate of say, average healthy individuals without breast cancer.
The NCI further explains that the period of time typically includes the five years from the date of diagnosis (or start of treatment). At the end of those five years, the percentage of patients with breast cancer who are still alive is divided by the percentage of people within the general population without breast cancer (but of the same sex and age) who are still alive. This result is the relative survival rate.
Thankfully, our 2018 EOTS roster are all Survivors and before we split for the new year we'd like to give them one last blast of calendar love!
Ladies, thank you for making our 2018 calendar beautiful and inspiring all year!
It's an exciting time as we head into 2019 and mark our FOURTH calendar! Also, this year's pink dozen includes our first MALE survivor, and we're super excited about that. As we've mentioned before, men can get breast cancer, too! Check out more here.
Before we hit the ground running next year, let's make sure we take some time for ourselves during the last days of this year! With the hustle and bustle of the season it's easy to burn out and FAST. But where's the holiday cheer in that?
We're all struggling with something so let's not forget that it's OK to say no!
There's tons of holiday events, parties, shopping to-do's, gift exchanges, potlucks, and on and on....
BUT sometimes, and especially during these times, we just need to knock back some hot cocoa and give ourselves a break.
So however you choose to spend your time, we hope you enjoy it and that health and happiness follow you into 2019.
And Torra, we didn't forget you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! We know you will ignite even more sparks with every step in the new year.
Until then all, keep your Eye on Strength!