BATTLING CANCER WITH A NETWORK OF SUPPORT
Before joining the Levine Cancer Institute Cancer Wellness Program at the Y, Debbie Stober was no stranger to the devastating disease. Her mother struggled with cancer for years before Debbie began her own 14-year battle with breast cancer.
Throughout her extensive treatment that included a lumpectomy, double mastectomy and chemotherapy, Debbie and her husband were committed to caring for their three children, including their two-year-old son who was born with Down syndrome and later diagnosed with leukemia.
“Our world was turned upside down,” says Debbie, “but I knew I had to be strong for my children. I just kept fighting and was so thankful when I finally went into remission.”
Now in recovery, Debbie focused on restoring a sense of normalcy in their lives. The family hoped for a healthy, new beginning as they moved from New Jersey to Charlotte in 2012. However, on the heels of a routine MRI, Debbie learned her cancer had returned.
“I couldn't believe it; I thought I had it beat,” Debbie recalls. This time she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. “I was told to undergo treatment again and just hope for the best.”
Terribly ill, living in a new city and working with a new medical team, Debbie felt discouraged and isolated. Recognizing her mother's need for support beyond medical treatment, Debbie's daughter recommended she join the Levine Cancer Institute Cancer Wellness Program at the Morrison Family YMCA.
“Along with my husband and family, the Y has been a healing bridge over troubled waters,” Debbie affirms.
Since joining the program, Debbie says her physical stamina has increased and her quality of life has improved. She attributes part of her recovery to the support and compassion of Y staff.
“More importantly, the connection and fellowship I experience from being among other cancer survivors has renewed my spirit. I feel a real sense of belonging at the Y.”