As a development officer for University Health Care Foundation, Kathleen Bailie has worked for 10 years on its Miracle Mile Walk to fund breast health services at University Hospital and has worked with many breast cancer survivors. But this year when she walks on Saturday she will know exactly how they feel.
“It’s really special because I never thought I would be wearing the survivor badge and be a survivor and be walking in the footsteps of all of the women that we’re raising money for,” Bailie said.
Always faithful to get her yearly mammogram, the 15th one – in June – turned up something that caught the radiologist’s attention.
“When he saw this he knew immediately he needed to check it out because he had never seen anything before that,” she said.
A biopsy confirmed that it was breast cancer and in July she had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Bailie knows she was fortunate that it was caught early and was able to avoid chemotherapy and radiation. She said part of her confidence in her treatment is being familiar with those at University Breast Health Center, where she turned for help, and her physicians.
“But I think a big part of it is your attitude going into it and I was very positive and I knew that whatever lay ahead of me I would be able to endure because of the support and the excellent staff at University,” Bailie said.
Last year, Miracle Mile attracted more than 9,000 people and it raised $378,000, she said. That helped pay for more than 1,600 mammograms for uninsured women, Bailie said. This year’s goal is $450,000. This year Bailie can also share her personal story with them.
“Being in charge of the Miracle Mile Walk, when people call me now or I see them in person and I am telling them about the walk, what I say to them is on the day of the walk I will be a 13-week survivor,” she said.
Everyone’s cancer is different and there can be a tendency to bemoan your fate but Bailie says when she was told she had breast cancer she didn’t doubt her outcome.
“As soon as I heard those words, I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m going to die.’ That never entered my mind,” she said. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to fight this and I’m going to do this.’^”