October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Digital reporter, Emma Rose Lewis sat down with a two-time breast cancer survivor.
“I was initially diagnosed at 28 in ’03 and then my last diagnosis was in November of 2007,” said Heather Stempka, breast cancer survivor.
Stempka has been cancer free since 2008. October is a special month for her.
“It means so much because as I’m a two-time breast cancer survivor, diagnosed at such an early age when I was 28, a reoccurrence 4.5 years later, it’s so hard to put into words because I took my experience and turned into something very positive. I’m actually the founder of the nonprofit, Linked by Pink here in the Erie community,” said Stempka.
Linked by Pink assists young women who are affected by breast cancer with grants and support groups.
“Through my organization, we have went to local colleges and universities and told our stories because when I was 28, I was never thinking about breast cancer,” said Stempka.
For Stempka, she went to the originally for her mom’s sake.
“They said, ‘Well it’s probably not cancer cause you’re so young, but we’re just gonna do a mammogram and an ultrasound just to make sure.’ And lo and behold, I was actually diagnosed April 1st of 2003,” said Stempka.
Now she’s helping others through Linked by Pink.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel and they don’t have to go through it by themselves,” said Stempka.