Laura Peterson and her father are no strangers to hearing the words “you have cancer,” but to hear them at the start of a pandemic was something entirely different.
In January of 2019, Peterson’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He underwent radiation treatment and experienced side effects. Over the next year, he would continue getting treatment, going to appointments, and receiving routine testing. Unfortunately, his cancer metastasized. He decided to undergo a high-risk elective surgery that was soon postponed after scheduling due to COVID. It was not until May that his surgery was able to be performed and was successful. However, he was unable to see his loved ones. Peterson and her girls arranged time with his nurse so they could stand outside his window while he recovered at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center with signs of love and encouragement. Her father is on the mend and is now cancer-free.
In February of 2020, after receiving the results from a routine mammogram, Peterson was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. On March 11, she had partial mastectomy and soon after came COVID-19.
Her treatments were delayed until May. She would need to receive 21 radiation treatments over a four to five-week timespan. The diagnosis urged Peterson to change her lifestyle completely. She wanted to be the best she could be and began to log miles on the Yes.Fit app. This kept her walking and motivated to be healthy during such uncertain times.
Between her cancer diagnosis and the pandemic, Peterson lost her job. When she was laid off, she lost her insurance coverage and was lucky enough to get coverage from COBRA. However, the cost makes it near impossible to continue to pay into the plan. She wanted to do something to make sure no one has to ever go through the experience that she and her father went through in 2019 and 2020.
She decided to form a team and raise funds for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Concord and soon became the top fundraising team as the captain of “Saving Second Base.”
“We are all focused on COVID-19 right now, but eventually we will move forward. Cancer is ongoing. It’s important to donate to cancer research and for services that help those in treatment,” Peterson said.
COVID-19 is putting a lot at risk right now, including the fight against breast cancer. But this is one fight that can’t be canceled or postponed. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has always been more than a walk – it is a movement. Because of the pandemic, this fall may look different, but the community’s passion to end breast cancer must stay the same. The impact of COVID-19 will reduce the ability to fund cancer research by 50% in 2020 – the Society’s lowest investment this century if current trends continue. Communities, survivors, and caregivers are encouraged to rally around the fight and help raise crucial funds.
Residents are encouraged to join Peterson, her team, and other supporters for the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Concord movement. Individuals or teams can sign up to save lives today and begin raising funds for those who need it most.
This year, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Concord will be holding a drive-in experience. This socially distant event is set to take place on Friday, Oct. 16, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Fieldhouse Sports in Bow. You can learn more at MakingStridesWalk.org/ConcordNH.
The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer movement raises awareness and funds to end breast cancer and ensure that no one faces this disease alone. Since 1993, more than 15 million supporters have raised more than $935 million nationwide.
Funds raised through the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer enable the American Cancer Society to invest in groundbreaking research; provide free, comprehensive information and support to those touched by breast cancer; and help people take steps to reduce their breast cancer risk or find it early when it’s most treatable.