Road to the Race – Susan G. Komen of Evansville – My Story: Jamie Ellard
As part of our Road to the Race series, each week Townsquare Media will bring you the stories of men, women, children and families that have been affected by breast cancer; a devastating disease that strikes the lives of 1 in 8 women every day in the United States. This week we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Ellard, a young wife, and mother of two, who just found out in May she’s in for the fight of her life. Just 32, Jamie has stage 4 breast cancer. About a year ago Jamie felt a lump in her breast. She made an appointment with her gynecologist and they scheduled a mammogram. The radiologist decided the lump did not need to be further examined. Jamie was concerned but she followed what the radiologist recommended.
In January 2012, Jamie felt another lump, this time under her arm, in the area of her lymph glands. She waited, thinking, “I have another appointment with my gynecologist in April”. But in the back of her consciousness, she knew everything was not “ok”.
At her appointment this April, the doctor agreed the lumps in Jamie’s underarms, and that in her breast, warranted another mammogram. This time the foreign bodies could not be ignored. A biopsy was ordered and then the waiting began for the results.
Jamie says, “I was driving when they called me. They asked me if I’d like to call them back and I said, ‘No, Just tell me.’ And then I heard the words. ‘It’s malignant.’ I went numb. But I held it together because my daughter was in the car.”.
It was the oncologist in Evansville who told Jamie she had stage 2 breast cancer. That physician recommended she get a PET Scan and a second opinion at Indiana University. The doctor at IU would deliver a more devastating blow.
In Jamie’s words. “First, you deal with the fact that you have cancer and it’s stage 2. Ok. You can maybe deal with that because at least you know that you’ve got a pretty good chance of survival. But then, I go to get the PET scan. And I find out it’s spread to my pelvis.”
The spot on Jamie’s pelvis meant she has stage 4 breast cancer. The disease, which began over a year ago as a lump in her breast, has spread to her bones. Doctors told Jamie the average survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is generally 2-3 years.
The first thing Jamie thought about was her husband, her two young children and her extended family. Then, she decided cancer wasn’t going to take her life.
Today, Jamie has completed her third round in a 20-week course of chemotherapy. Next, she will undergo intensive radiation and then years of medication and close monitoring by her physicians. With luck, Jamie’s cancer will go into remission and with luck truly on her side, she beats this beast called cancer.
For now though, the illness has left her unable to work. She has taken an indefinite leave of absence from her job at the Evansville Surgery Center to concentrate on her care. The Ellards have insurance but that only covers so much. So to help out, their friends and family have organized a fundraiser to be held Friday, July 14th, at the VFW post located at 1114 N Wabash Ave, in Evansville, Indiana. Everyone, from everywhere, is welcome to attend. Everything from a private plane ride to a NASCAR package to tennis lessons are being auctioned to benefit the Ellards.
To help out even more, click the picture below to register as an individual or team for the Susan G. Komen 2012 Race for the Cure.