When Justine was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 23, she did not think that she was going to live for more than three years. “It’s been four years now,” she says with a smile. “My kids were two and three years old when I was diagnosed,” she mentions as the practice run for the Opening Ceremony for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Arizona was wrapping up. “I don’t cry a lot, but when Dr. Sheri talks about having both parents at their kids’ graduation, that gets me.”
Justine is walking the Komen 3-Day in Arizona for her first time and while in chemotherapy treatment. “I had a treatment last Friday,” she mentions, almost as a sidenote. She appears strong, but admits that she feels the effects of the treatment.
Then why push yourself on a three-day, 60-mile course? “I’m pretty stubborn. I made the decision six or seven months ago, and I joined up with a team from work, Team Ortho Arizona, so we’re doing this. I also like to climb mountains, and since I can’t make it up Squaw right now, I’m doing this.” Although there may not be the vertical of her usual mountains she likes to climb, the 3-Day in Arizona is no joke. Participants, some in chemotherapy like Justine, will push themselves to the limits in order to complete the 60-mile course.
Justine has put in extra time fundraising beyond her busy schedule at work and with kids. She sold jewelry for a company on the side and then had enough donations to participate in the walk. As she stands on stage this morning, hands raised high, she represents women and men who are pushing through the emotional, physical, and financial battles of breast cancer. Give her a hand when you see her this weekend on her first 3-Day!