Breast cancer survivor celebrates recovery by participating in American Cancer Society fundraiser
A Westfield woman is giving back as a way to celebrate her 10th anniversary of being cancer-free.
Karen Milrod is a mother of three and just became a grandmother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh my God, my daughter is only 10 years old. She’s in fifth grade. And my boys, they are teenagers,’” she says.
But after 10 years, seven surgeries, three months of chemotherapy and nine years of medication, Milrod is celebrating a decade of health.
“I call it my ‘cancer-versary.’ Oct. 6, which was the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011,” she says.
Milrod works as a nurse and office manager at her husband’s medical practice in Edison. She says that the American Cancer Society helped her greatly in her time of need, by providing support in the form of research, free wigs and beauty class for chemo patients. She wants to repay that kindness.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Breast Cancer Awareness Month
She is raising money and raising awareness for early detection through mammograms, self-exams and other tests available specifically for women with certain family histories of breast and other gynecological cancers. When she was diagnosed, she also tested positive for what is called the BRCA gene.
“When you are diagnosed with BRCA 1 or 2, there are cancer risk-reducing surgeries they recommend strongly you undergo, including getting rid of ovaries and fallopian tubes,” Milrod says.
She says that she knows it is tough for many women. But for her it was easy. She believes that it is part of the reason she is alive and thriving 10 years later.
“I was in survival mode. I was like, ‘Just sign me up for surgery. Sign me up for chemo. I’ll be there.’ I had to my life to save,” Milrod says. “Every year, I reflect back on how lucky I am to be here and to be healthy and 10 years – a decade – is huge.”
Milrod has so far raised $2,000 for the New Jersey 35-Mile Breast Cancer Challenge for the American Cancer Society.