PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In March 2015, Adrienne San Nicolas got a phone call that changed her life. Her family had no history of it, but at the age of 34, San Nicolas was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It’s really difficult to talk about the emotions that you feel when you are told that you have cancer,” San Nicolas said as tears started to show. “I’m sure cancer of any sort.”
When she found out, San Nicolas called in sick to work, went home to her husband and tried to accept the reality of the situation. By the end of the day, she said, she had hope.
On Sunday, after being cancer free for two years, San Nicolas got to join thousands of people in Portland’s Race for the Cure and celebrate life and a community filled with hope.
“It’s a sign of strength within the breast cancer community and its a reminder no one has to be alone in this journey,” San Nicolas said. “It’s a celebration for me that another year has gone and we’re still here.”
The community is a tight-knit one. San Nicolas was surrounded by friends and family at Sunday’s race, including her surgical oncologist Toni Storm-Dickerson.
“We are not in this to take care of the cancer,” Storm-Dickerson said. “We are in this to take care of the patient and part of that is killing cancer, but it’s also leaving them as whole as we can.”
The Race for the Cure is also a reminder that we’re still searching for exactly that — a cure. Each year, more than 40,000 people die from breast cancer.
Joe Dessert’s wife, Nina, was very passionate about the Race for the Cure. She passed away from stage 4 breast cancer, which she was originally diagnosed with back in 2002. Her passion for the race, even after death, is lived on through her husband and son, a duo that’s teamed up to make “Nina’s Demolition Crew.”
“It gave her energy knowing that people supported her and what she went through,” Joe said of NIna. “(It) made her feel important.”
The support, San Nicolas said, is the best part of the Race for the Cure.
“It’s really a sign of hope that together, one day we are going to be able to get rid of this ugly disease and eliminate it from ruining people’s lives,” she said.