June is National Cancer Survivor Month, and is an excellent reminder of the strength, power and optimism we see from survivors on the 3-Day, and in all our own lives.
We’d like to introduce you to Lisa Partner, a 3-Dayer and training walk leader from the Powered by Optimism team in San Diego. Lisa is a 12-year metastatic breast cancer survivor who has raised more than $23,000 for the 3-Day since her first walk in 2007.
Lisa found a lump in her breast when her daughter was only three months old, and after many doctors’ visits, tests and more, was finally diagnosed in early 2005. Her daughter was only 18 months old. From her initial discovery to her diagnosis, she admits that “cancer never really was in my thought process,” but it soon became a part of her everyday life.
A few months after her first surgery, Lisa explains “It was found that my cancer had spread to a single rib on the right side of my body. I was then restaged as metastatic. Due to restaging I will be on Herceptin indefinitely. After pondering my thoughts for a few months, I decided to have my right breast and ovaries removed.”
That initial reconstruction did not go smoothly, but Lisa has since seen more success with following reconstruction surgeries. Through it all, she has remained strong for herself and her family. Marianne Masterson, San Diego 3-Day coach, has sung Lisa’s praises for that immeasurable strength.
“Not only has Lisa confronted the trials associated with surgery and treatment, but also the stark odds that her daughter may be growing up without a mother. Lisa’s attitude was to do everything possible to stay alive to ensure this didn’t happen.”
When she was able, Lisa joined the 3-Day in 2007, and since then has become an active participant, partaking in the Survivor Circle in 2010 and 2015, which she said was a “highly emotional” Experience. When talking about how being a survivor has affected her 3-Day experience, she explained,
“This is going to sound silly, but the walkers make me feel like a rock star. Funny, right? Survivors are looked at as heroes, even though I don’t feel like one. […] Just the fact that so many people join together for a single cause is astounding.”
That feeling of community includes walker stalkers and other San Diego locals, who Lisa says are some of her favorite parts of the walk each year.
“It is unique in that there are so many people coming together for a singular cause. And our community support here in San Diego is bar none! We have the best city!”
Marianne summed it up best when she said, “Lisa is as dedicated to the cause as she is dedicated to living. She fully embraces living in the present and to me embodies everything the 3-Day represents!”
If you want to make a difference for a breast cancer survivor, or help someone battling breast cancer in your own life, Lisa says it’s very simple; just be present.
“Be available to listen, offer a positive attitude, and offer to do grocery shopping, house cleaning, cooking meals. Anything so that the person can focus on getting well.”
That is something Lisa focuses on every day. We are honored to have her in our 3-Day family during Cancer Survivor Month, and always.