"I was 49 when I first discovered my own tumor through breast self exam," says Lauren Breakell.
It was this time last year when Breakell was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
"I'm the third person in my book club that has had breast cancer. We keep saying is it something in the water. but it's not. It's one of out every 8 women and it's somebody everybody knows," explains Breakell.
The mother of 4 - didn't have a family history, exercised and took care of herself - making her diagnosis a surprise.
It's a story the Virginia Blue Ridge chapter of Susan G. Komen hears all too often.
And, it's stories like that keep them working towards a cure.
With about two-weeks to go, there's still a lot to be done.
Volunteers are putting together bags for the hundreds that will lace up their shoes and support the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Komen is largest non- government funder of breast cancer research.
"When we started, the 5-year survival rate if you were diagnosed early and it was confined to the breast was in the 70%. Now if you get your breast cancer and it's diagnosed early you have a 99% survival rate," explains Executive Director Catherine Turner.
After a year of surgery and treatment, Breakell has come out the other side.
Last year, she ran and medaled at the beginning of her journey.
This year, she's crossed another finish line and says she feels lucky to be alive.
She's looks forward to this year's Race.
Says Breakell, "Everybody has a story, everybody's story is a little different -it was so warm and it was the best thing that could've happened to me to show up at that race, not just for the victory of the medal but for the support."
In the interest of full disclosure, Lauren is a member of the DBJ family.
She works in our sales department.
There's still time to enroll in the race.
It's happening April 12th on Reserve Avenue in Roanoke.
Click here to learn more.