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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A local breast cancer survivor is on a mission to help other women and to raise money in the fight against the disease.
As CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu reported Thursday, Theresa Lana has already raised half a million dollars in her quest to stamp out breast cancer.
Lana was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer eight years ago. She’s now in remission and on a mission.
“The only way that I can make sense of my diagnosis is if I can help other women,” Lana told Hsu.
Her surgeon, Dr. Patrick Borgen, said the odds were stacked against her, but noted that Lana’s incredible spirit helped her get through chemotherapy, radiation and six surgeries.
“I think it’s a lesson to me as a doctor. We don’t predict the future very well and we have no business ever giving up,” Dr. Borgen, the chairman of surgery at Maimonides Medical Center, told Hsu.
Right after treatment, Lana and her friends created the “T-Birds Team” to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
In addition to raising $500,000, Lana spends lots of time volunteering at hospitals and mentoring other patients.
“You know what, positive people, positive thoughts, positive things,” Lana encouraged patient Darlene Vigliotti on a recent visit.
“Her advice to me on the very first day was just to take it one day at a time and this too shall pass,” Vigliotti told Hsu.
Lana created a book called, “A Heroic Journey,” to help other patients know what to expect. It covers all aspects of fighting the disease, from diagnosis to treatment to wigs for those who lose their hair.
She and a friend also designed caftans, specifically for breast cancer patients who often have a hard time lifting their arms after surgery.
The sides are easily opened or closed with Velcro. The garments are a big step up from the hospital gown.
“It’s something that you can use for when people come to see you in the hospital and you want to feel a little bit more cheery and it’s just versatile,” Lana told Hsu.
A portion of the proceeds is donated to Komen.
When Lana started her walk team eight years ago, she had just five members. For this year’s Komen Race for the Cure next month, she’ll have more than 100 people on the team.
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