I promise

"I promise, Suzy... Even if it takes the rest of my life." - Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

What is Triple Negative Breast Cancer?


Just in recent years, Triple Negative Breast Cancer has sparked interest in the news where instead of calling the tumor as ER-negative, PR-negative, and HER2-negative; researchers began using the shorthand term, "Triple Negative," dubbed the "new type" type of cancer. Being Triple Negative, you don't have a targeted therapy and that your only treatment option is chemotherapy.

Triple Negative is seen in about 15% of all breast cancers. Triple Negative is a very aggressive cancer that tends to strike younger women, pre-menopause, especially among African-American women and women who have BRCA1 mutations. The tumor tends to be fast growing and is less likely to show up on an annual mammogram. TN is more likely to metastasis early on; has a high rate of recurrence in the first 2-3 years from diagnosis and has a poorer prognosis than other types of breast cancer due to lack of specific, targeted treatment for TNBC.

Carpe diem

Seize Each new Day with Renewed Strength,
Believe in Yourself, Go forward with
Courage and faith
to face whatever Tomorrow may bring.

Chicks For Charity motto:

Enjoy life. Laugh a lot.
Work hard. Play hard.
Be thankful for our blessings.
Share the wisdom. Give back

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Komen Ladies Night Out 2017

April 30, 2017, supporting Komen of Northwest Ohio at Ladies Night Out at The Appliance Center for fun and fundraising.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer sisters, Melissa and Deb K.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Komen Breakfast 2017

The Annual Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Breakfast held in September 2017 with my pink sisters!

The Victory Gals are in the house!
Rita, Carol, Areena, Diane, Beth, Melissa J. Kim, Melissa
& Lynnette

Melissa P., Deb, Rita, Melissa J. and Carol
First 4 of us on the left are TNBC survivors

Pink sisters, Lynnette and Melissa

Melissa and Chrys Peterson

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Northwest Ohio Medical Mutual's Hattitude Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch 2017

Lovely and uplifting breast cancer awareness brunch presented by Medical Mutual of Ohio at the Inverness Club in Toledo on Sept. 16, 2017.  Also, it was a great opportunity for me to get Young Survival Coalition's information out there for support of young women diagnosed with breast cancer.  Thank you Debra. A. Green for this annual awareness event in bringing women together and reminding us on the importance of early detection in breast cancer.

Educating about unique needs in young
women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Melissa representing Young Survival Coalition as
 a State Leader

Peggy, Dianna, Sharon, Deb and Melissa
The last 4 of us on the right end are
triple negative breast cancer survivors

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Komen Holiday Friend-raiser 2016

On December 8, 2016, I attended a fundraiser event benefiting Komen of Northwest Ohio at the Pub at Paula Brown's Shop supporting my high school friend, breast cancer survivor, Amy. Amy Thorpe, Board Vice President of Komen of Northwest Ohio and Gretchen Awad of Komen hosted this lovely event.

Amy, Gretchen and Melissa

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Toledo MudHens Pink Out the Park 2016

My MudHens in pink!

Fun times with the ladies and the men in pink, supporting breast cancer awareness day at the Toledo Mudhens benefiting Susan G. Komen of Northwest Ohio in July 2016.

First base

Linda, Devorah and Melissa

Melissa J., Jamie, Dave, Devorah and Melissa

Pink in the Park, Downtown Toledo

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Remembering Tatum...

TNBC sisters Tatum and Melissa

Tatum, one of our Victory gals was so inspiration to all of us and were very saddened with her lost to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Tatum's battle began in 2014 when she was diagnosed with PR+/ER+ breast cancer.  In 2015, not even a year out of treatment, Tatum had discovered a lump in her neck and learned that her cancer has returned metastatic to her lymph nodes, and had actually "morphed" to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. On August 20, 2016, Tatum Hummel was taken from her three very young children and husband.

All of us Victory gals after attending Tatum's funeral
We love and miss you Tatum!

UT Survivorship Conference 2016

On June 25, 2016, I was happy to be a vendor exhibitor representing Young Survival Coalition at The University of Toledo Center for Health and Successful Living Survivorship Conference.  As a Young Survival Coalition State Leader, I was able to provide young survivors with information about the resources that YSC has to offer and bring attention to the organization in my area.

Representing Young Survival Coalition with our
exhibit table

My beautiful friend, 
Breast cancer survivor, Barb Oxner

Guest speaker, Rev. April Hearn

Dr. Thompson

Friday, September 1, 2017

Powerful in Pearls Fashion Show 2016

I volunteered for Powerful in Pearls luncheon and fashion show benefiting The Victory Center on February 19, 2016.  I helped checking in guests coats earning tips supporting The Victory Center's mission in providing free support services to cancer patients in Northwest Ohio area.


Featured in Sylvania Advantage Newspaper

Me working coat check...

Great turnout!

Pink Sister, Jyll telling her story

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My Interview, Toledo Center thats Helping Cancer Patients is the First of it's Kind in the US 2015

TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - by LIssa Guyton
About 9,000 women in Ohio will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Thanks to a charity called Lambie's Legacy, people in need are getting help with diagnosis and treatment.
The foundation was started in honor of Margaret Guyton Stout who died of breast cancer in 2011.Margaret's nickname was Lambie and she's the sister of our own Lissa Guyton. Today, Lissa met someone whose life has been impacted by the work of the foundation in Lambie's honor.
Melissa Paskvan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2009, "When my doctor told me I was shocked. I couldn't answer any questions all I could keep saying was okay, okay." She went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, "All I could think about was my son, he was 7 at the time."
Several years after those treatments, a routine mammogram raised more concerns. Her doctor recommended a breast MRI. The problem was, her insurance didn't cover it.
Thanks in part to a donation from Lambie's Legacy The Center for Health and Successful Living was able to step in and pay the bill.
The center is on The University of Toledo campus and it's a one stop shop for survivors, focusing on things like education, support groups and screening. Dr. Amy Thompson is a co-founder of the center and her mother is a breast cancer survivor,"Everything we do is to take people's minds off cancer and some of the challenges they face."  
Dr. Thompson and Melissa Paskvan
And it's the first of its kind in the United States. The vast majority of people working at the center are volunteers including Dr. Thompson and they run it on a limited budget, "It's the most inspiring work I have ever done. Sometimes its easy for all of us to think we've had a bad day but you soon realize you've never had a bad day compared to people like Melissa. It's made me re-evaluate what I do it is not a job to me. I know every day we're making a difference."
Dr. Iman Mohamed is an Oncologist at The University of Toledo Medical Center. She says the work of the center is changing lives, "To treat our patients and think we'll be there at all the stages is a very limited view as a physician. We need to partner with groups in the community like the center that can hold their hands and walk with them."
As tough as Melissa's cancer journey has been at times,she is grateful for those here at the center who have held her hand through it all, "My husband and son are the most important things to me and I am glad to be around for them.I am so thankful for all the people in my life who have helped make that happen." The MRI Melissa received delivered good news, the cancer is not back.
The biggest fundraiser of the year for Lambie's Legacy is Wednesday night at the Carranor Hunt and Polo Club in Perrysburg. The money raised will be used to help people in our community with a number of different needs.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Survivor Highlight Story by UT Center for Health and Successful Living 2015

Dr. Gaber and Melissa Paskvan
Survivor Highlight:
The Story of Melissa Paskvan
In August of 2009, while mindlessly scratching an itch on her left side, Melissa found an abnormal lump in her left breast. Upon feeling the lump, her thoughts were immediately drawn to the frightening possibility of breast cancer. Two days later, Melissa was able to get into the Breast Care Center at Toledo Hospital for a mammogram. It came back negative.
That same day, Melissa automatically received an ultrasound of her breast. The ultrasound detected a cyst but the doctor was not concerned about a malignancy. Although the two screening tests had not detected any cancer, Melissa was not comfortable with or confident in the “all clear” diagnosis. Doubts continued to weigh heavily on her mind and heart. She continued to advocate for herself and requested that her doctors do an immediate biopsy that same day. Because she did not want to alarm her husband and family members, Melissa did not tell them about finding the lump and the need for these medical tests. Before she informed her loved ones, she wanted to wait to receive a definitive diagnosis that would put everyone’s mind at ease.
Two days after the biopsy, Melissa received the phone call that she had been dreading. Her primary care physician on the phone informed her the results of the biopsy were positive. Melissa had breast cancer. At age 41, she was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Action needed to be taken immediately. The challenging journey with breast cancer began.
Melissa quickly underwent the surgical knife and had a lumpectomy; then chemotherapy; then radiation. After the active treatment was over, Melissa started to develop short- term memory loss, experienced extreme fatigue, lost both of her jobs, was in a car accident and crushed her foot. She also suffered from residual pain from the surgical removal of lymph nodes. At this point in the journey, Melissa had completed active treatment but felt a strong sense of fear and uncertainty regarding if or when the cancer would return. She also suffered from a significant decline in her health and quality of life. She did not know where to turn for help.
It was at this time in her life when Melissa discovered the Center for Health and Successful Living on the main campus of the University of Toledo. She attended an event or two and starting making friends with staff members and with a few of the other survivors who were present. The number and strength of the friendships continued to grow as did her attendance at events and services sponsored by the Center.
Melissa states the Center is a place where she can go to get away, relax, get support, and surround herself with supporters and cancer survivors who understand what she is going through. Since late 2013, Melissa has attended art classes, book clubs, the Pink Sneaker walking club, and the grief support group. In addition she attends many of the weekly leadership meetings and has helped with the outreach breast health services that the Center provides at the Toledo PRIDE Festival. She recently assisted with President Gaber’s visit to the Center. President Sharon Gaber is UT’s new and first female president. Because of the Center and its programming and services, Melissa reports that she has started to find a “new normal” and has discovered a new motivation to live a healthy lifestyle. She is exercising more, eating healthier, and more health conscious.
Last month during Melissa’s annual mammogram, a benign calcification was detected. Considering her past experiences with screening mammograms, this result was unsettling to Melissa. Therefore, her doctor recommended she get a breast MRI since her last one was in 2012. However, Melissa could not afford the cost of the breast MRI. When Drs. Jordan and Thompson (Directors of the Center) heard about this dilemma, they contacted Melissa and informed her that a foundation entitled Lambie’s Legacy Foundation had given the Center a grant to help women in these types of situations. Therefore, with the help of Lambie’s Legacy funds, the Center was able to help Melissa pay for this MRI.
The MRI came back negative and everyone is celebrating this wonderful result. Thanks to the Lambie’s Legacy Foundation for helping the Paskvan family afford this important medical test. Melissa is now able to get back to her life of helping other survivors and being the best mother, wife, and friend that she can be!

Monday, August 7, 2017

20 Years Strong of The Victory Center

On May 31, 2016, I attended the  20 year celebration of transforming lives at The Victory Center where have been a breast cancer support member for 7 years.

Mission of The Victory Center:
"To support and educate cancer patients and those closest to them by providing individual and group services in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan."


Breast cancer survivors,
Melissa and Jeanette

Here's to 20 years of serving cancer survivors!
right side: Lori, Jyll and Karen

Bottom right corner: Lynn

Mmmm CAKE!
(L) Laura  (R) Karen

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pink Sisters Christmas Parties 2016

Center for Health and Successful Living
Christmas Party hosted by Dr. Amy Thompson

Christmas with the Victory gals
Kim, Beth, Melissa J., Laurie, Rita, Linda, Joyce, Carol,
Diane, Areena, Peggy, Traci, Jyll, Lori,
Elaine and Melissa P.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Remembering Ishiuan...

Condolences to Ishiuan's family. Ishiuan and I met in Florida 2014 at the Young Survival Coalition Conference, we were Triple Negative sisters.  I always admired Ishiuan's strength and determination and loved the smile on her face that she always shown.  Sadly, Ishiuan passed on March 19, 2016 at age 42 after her 10 years fight with TNBC.  Rest peacefully dear.

TNBC sisters, Melissa and Ishuian Hargrove

Read Ishian's story On Living Beyond Breast Cancer site:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Decade of Diamonds Fashion Show 2017

On February 17, 2017, The 10th Annual Victory Center's Luncheon and Fashion Show, A Decade of Diamonds raised over $55, 000 that will go towards supporting their services that are offered to cancer survivors and co-survivors.  I volunteered at this event with registration and gathering up the gift raffle items to be presented to the ticket winners.  I'm always happy to be able to help out the Victory Center where I can and this event surprised me with special guest taking stage, Calysta Bevier singing a couple of hit cover songs, Rachel Platten's "Fight Song" and Sia's "Alive" portraying her own fight, a ovarian cancer survivor in her early teens.

Calysta Bevier and Melissa
I'm a big supporter of our local arts and music!

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Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation

Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
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The SCAR Project

The SCAR Project
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Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project

Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project
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