In 2012, Dawn Gonzales heard the words no patient wants to hear.
But given her family history with breast cancer, she was not surprised.
“For me, it was walking around with a monkey on my back. Wanting to know when that's going to happen,” she says.
Her mother’s diagnosis, now cancer-free for 19 years, made Gonzales vigilant about her health. In her teens, she self-examined herself and often went in for mammograms as she became older. The frequent examinations led to the discovery and diagnosis for stage two breast cancer.
After careful consideration with her medical team, she opted for a double mastectomy instead of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Today, she is cancer free.
Months after doctors gave her the clear signal, she is paying it forward as a board member for Susan G. Komen.
Gonzales’ involvement goes back further than her bout with cancer. As homage to her mother, she had been involved with the annual Race for the Cure for 15 years.
“I've got breast cancer in my family. My mom, my aunt. And so when we talk about why it's important to register for the race – it's personal,” she says.
For the mother of two daughters, she says she’s interested in the research done by Komen.
“The work that they're doing is life-saving. It's changing cancer treatment as we know it today. It's changing it from a perspective; even in the last four years – my treatment that I had four years ago is completely different than what is potentially happening today.”
She hopes people join the walk in October, knowing how the money raised can help spread breast cancer awareness, provide health service and focus on research for a cure.
“I think there is great power in numbers,” she says. “It's a big celebration.”
The 23rd annual Race for the Cure is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9at Baxter Arena and Aksarben Village.
To learn how to register, click here.