August 1, 2002
Irrepressible, undaunted, undeterred, unsinkable, and eight weeks late, Team Y2K of Great Falls got together at Village Centre on July 27 to finish their celebration of life for breast cancer survivors.
This year, 100 members of the team of 300 walkers and runners also survived a bus collision that occurred on Walker Road as they were returning from the annual Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., on June 1.
Several team members suffered “minor” injuries such as broken noses and teeth, cellulitis, and torn muscles, said team organizer Patti Brownstein.
On Saturday, those who had survived such “minor” bus wreck injuries mingled with breast cancer survivors like Patti Brownstein, the team organizer; Cheryl Mihal, Chris Colley, Lynn Roots and Beverly Cherkis.
If they could beat breast cancer, said Brownstein, her team members could survive a bus wreck, and still help others fight cancer.
That includes her own mother, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer detected in a routine mammogram, underwent surgery, and was scheduled to begin radiation therapy this week.
Brownstein’s commitment to raising money for research, she said, is in the hope that women like her mother, and her two daughters, will benefit from new methods of detection and treatment, such as digital mammography and stereotactic biopsy, Brownstein said.
Cherkis, who lives in Alexandria, said she discovered a lump in her breast 27 years ago, when she was 32.
“My doctor said, ‘You’re too young to have breast cancer. Go home,’” she said.
“Three months later, I said, ‘This is not normal for me,’ and I went back,” she said.
She underwent surgery at a time when “You went to sleep not knowing what would happen,” she said. But she survived, and on Saturday, drove to Great Falls with her husband to help others in the fight.
Chris Colley of Great Falls, another survivor, said her mother had breast cancer, and she is concerned for her daughter and baby granddaughter.
Despite the setback caused by the bus collision, Brownstein said, the team will “Absolutely” participate in Race for the Cure next year. “No question in my mind,” Brownstein said. “Bigger and better.”
On Saturday, she held the silent auction, raffle, and celebration that was canceled last month, after the buses collided just before they reached the Village Centre.
“The bus company has been wonderful,” she said. “I’m going to ask them to make a big donation to the Race [for the Cure].”
Food for the celebration was donated by Subway in Sterling, and Village Centre donated pizza. Great Falls Safeway donated soda and water.