Linda Frank, administrative assistant at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center at Youngstown State University, is just one of the many women who has fought and survived breast cancer.
Like Frank, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, with over 220,000 being diagnosed each year. 40,000 women out of that number will also die from the disease.
Frank said that when she was first diagnosed she wasn’t optimistic.
“I just celebrated my 33rd birthday, and two days later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said. “I immediately associated my diagnosis with a death sentence.”
Frank said that her breast lump was there for two and a half years and her doctor was well aware of it. Once she noticed the lump was getting larger, they decided to order her a mammogram and nothing was found.
“When you’re that young, it doesn’t normally show up in a mammogram,” she said. “The next step was a biopsy and when I got my test results back, I found out that it was indeed breast cancer. I was blessed with a slow growing tumor.”
Immediately after being diagnosed, Frank began to go through six months of chemotherapy. During that time, she was trying her hardest to be a normal wife and mother taking care of her 4 year old twin daughters.
“I was an emotional mess,” she said. “I had 4-year-old twins to worry about; they never really understood my diagnosis, either.”
While going through chemotherapy, Frank knew two women who both had breast cancer and were also going through chemo at the same time as her.
“The two people I knew died,” she said. “So that made me really frightened.”
For the past 23 1/2 years, Frank has been a survivor of breast cancer. She also supports raising awareness for breast cancer and will participate in relay for life ceremonies and also the survivor ceremony at Zeta Tau Alpha’s Pink Ribbon Cheer Classic.
Frank says she commends anyone who helps raise awareness for breast cancer and is proud of the work that they do.
“It does my heart good to see so many people being involved and raising large amounts of money to help find a cure,” she said. “Even though it’s hard for me to participate in the events, I am always willing to donate money and raise awareness for the cause.”
Frank said one fundraising event she really appreciates in particular is “Mugs for Jugs.” During October, men of the Rec Center grow out their beards in awareness of breast cancer and also take donations from anyone willing to help out their cause.
“It makes me so proud to see them raising money and most importantly raising awareness,” she said. “They’re so on the ball with everything, and I really do appreciate it.”