Patricia Korey, 55, of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in 2017. She was introduced to Living Beyond Breast Cancer by a friend, and attended Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2018 and 2019. She participated in her first Reach & Raise: Philadelphia in 2018.
Patricia spoke with LBBC’s content coordinator, Madison Hughes, about what inspired her to come to Reach & Raise last year, and why she’s returning for the upcoming 2019 event, to be held on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 19.
What inspired you to participate in Reach & Raise: Philadelphia last year?
My story actually starts with doing a similar kind of event for lung cancer research and awareness called Free to Breathe. My husband died of lung cancer in 2011, and about a year after that I found out about the Lung Cancer Research Foundation’s Free to Breathe event. I put together a team for that in memory of him. They were called “Sam’s Schmoopies,” and we’re still called that when we do it every year. We got that name from “Seinfeld.”
Then in October of 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out, through all the testing, that I was stage IV. I went through chemo and all that goes with it, and had surgery because they thought it’d be useful to find out if any cancer was still there, and if it was, to take out the tumor and affected nodes. I continue with targeted therapy infusions now.
I heard about LBBC through a childhood friend when I was first diagnosed. And so, when I found out you guys were having the metastatic conference in April of last year, I went to that and it was a really great experience.
I had surgery on April 27, 2018, and I registered to do Reach & Raise as a team. The event was about a month after my surgery and it was the first time I was feeling half-decent and actually able to raise my arms. And it was just such a lovely thing to do. I found the yoga very relaxing and very centering. I had a lot of the people who donate in memory of my husband who pitched in to help with this.
Tell me a little about your Reach & Raise team.
My team ended up just being me last year. But my “team” is all the wonderful people – my family and my friends – who support me even though they’re not there.
What brings you back to Reach & Raise in 2019?
This is something I’ll live with for the rest of my life. Reach & Raise is a way to give back to an organization that is helping me, and helping so many other women and men living with this disease, every day. I also like that you’re a part of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance and that you’re joining with them not only to provide information but to raise funds for research, which we need so much.
As long as I’m able to do it, I’m going to do it, because it’s a way to give back and it makes me feel better, too. There’s a sense that you’re helping other people as well as helping yourself. And then there’s the physical activity and the connection of the mind and body. You feel better just being out there with other people, sharing a positive experience in what can be a not-so-positive thing in your life. It’s something that makes you feel better. Makes you feel like you’re living.
Do you have a fundraising tip for other team leaders?
The biggest thing is you have to ask! I just sent emails out to people in my family, in my husband’s family, and to friends I’ve had throughout my life – from childhood and high school to my current workplace. They just step up. They’re really happy to participate in that way, and then I always make sure I send a thank you email as soon as people donate, thanking them for remembering Sam or for remembering me, and for helping to help other people, which is what it’s about.
People are willing to give, especially when they have a connection to someone who’s going through it or has gone through it. It helps motivate people to donate. And having good people in my life who are willing to do it helps, too.
Reach & Raise: Philadelphia will be held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on May 19, 2019, rain or shine. Register today to help those affected by breast cancer.