SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Every scar tells a story; for Marie Mireault, the scars on her body are a reminder of the three surgeries and 25 radiation treatments it took for her to beat breast cancer.
“I think the magic word is hope, you always have to have hope that it’s going to get better and it did. I love saying that I’m 13-years a survivor, I feel really good about that,” she said.
Mireault is one of hundreds of women who were in Springfield Saturday for the 19th Annual Rays of Hope Breast Cancer Survivors’ Day.
The event’s an opportunity for breast cancer survivors to celebrate being cancer free, and reflect on the unpredictable journey that all started with a single lump.
Breast Cancer survivor Rosemary Dellaera told 22News unlike many of the other survivors she has met, she noticed a lump on her breast months before her annual mammogram. “I felt a lump myself, and I kind of ignored it for a little bit. A coworker suggested that I go get it checked out, and from there, my journey began,” she said.
The stories that the survivors told are more common than you might think. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in the lives, and according to the American Cancer Society, an estimated one in 38 women die of breast cancer every year.
Keynote speaker, breast cancer survivor, and Rays of Hope founder Lucy Carvalho told 22News, the statistics give them a reason to keep fighting for others. “I think about that a lot actually, because that’s our goal, that’s our mission. We want to have a cure for breast cancer, and we’re not going to stop until we do,” she said.
Rays of Hope is a nonprofit, breast cancer organization that raises money to help support women living with breast cancer in western Massachusetts.