Our Stories Archive - After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Our Stories

Compassion
ABCD provides COMPASSION

Young, healthy and pregnant, Lisa Armitage was shocked to learn she had breast cancer.  She found the compassion she needed in her Mentor.  Just hearing the voice of someone who can say – “yes, that was me, I’m here, you’re not alone” meant the world to her.

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Karen Leonard
Karen Leonard: Rare Diagnosis Sparks a Journey of Support and Advocacy

If you’ve never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Karen Leonard wants to change that. Diagnosed in 2009 with IBC, Karen knows firsthand how often this rare and aggressive form of breast cancer is misdiagnosed, and how important it is to connect with others who have been on the same journey. “IBC is sometimes called ‘no […]

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Kathy Korducki
Kathy Korducki: Cold Capping Offers a Choice When Patients Feel Powerless

By Gina Rich, ABCD Board Member One of the most fearful aspects of a breast cancer diagnosis is the loss of control patients feel. For ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis Mentor Kathy Korducki, who was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) in 2018, the thought of losing her hair due to chemotherapy was worse than […]

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Jack Congleton

Jack Congleton greets me with a warm smile, a welcome sight on an early spring morning that feels more like the middle of winter. Although I’m just meeting Jack – an ABCD Family & Friends Mentor – for the first time, his friendly, gracious nature immediately puts me at ease. Over the past ten years, […]

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Nailah Cash O’Bannon and Kathryn Walker: A Story of Connection

Breast cancer before the age of 40 is relatively rare. But it was a stark reality for Nailah Cash O’Bannon and Kathryn Walker, who were diagnosed in their 20s. As they absorbed the shocking news, both women found themselves at the beginning of an unexpected path, in which they would navigate the challenges of treatment, […]

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dwp-after
2020 DWP sizzle

Proceeds from our 2020 Date with a Plate will go to provide customized services to the thousands who will receive a breast cancer diagnosis this year. Breast cancer didn’t stop with Covid-19 … and neither did you! Thank you!

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Dara Kumbera: A Story of Determination

Even before her diagnosis, Dara Kumbera knew what it meant to battle breast cancer. In her family, the illness was a familiar and unwelcome occurrence: her mother, grandmother, and cousin had all passed away from the disease. Dara’s own diagnosis came in 1998, when she was only 30 years old. After considering her options, Dara […]

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Support
ABCD provides SUPPORT

Struggles with how to live your life following a breast cancer diagnosis are very real.  In this video Kathryn Walker talks about the immediate bond she felt with her Mentor and how her connection with ABCD was life changing.

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Kindness
ABCD provides KINDNESS

ABCD provides holistic care that medical providers cannot offer.  Working as a complement to healthcare providers, MSW, Leanne Walz, discusses the value of having someone there who truly understands at this most vulnerable time in the life of someone who is dealing with breast cancer.

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ABCD provides CONFIDENCE
ABCD provides CONFIDENCE

ABCD staff member, Judy Mindin shares the founder’s dream for the organization and how the program inspires confidence by giving hope to all those affected by breast cancer.  Continuing her legacy is at the core of ABCD’s program – our founder believed with all her heart that no one should go through a breast cancer […]

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Nicole Kutmas
Nichole Kutmas – A Story of Hope

When Nichole Kutmas found a lump the size of a pencil eraser, breast cancer was the last thing on her mind. It was May 2013, and Nichole had just celebrated her 32nd birthday. She had two young daughters.

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ABCD Provides HOPE
ABCD Provides HOPE

ABCD past Participant and current Mentor, Mary Reina talks about the phone call that changed her life.  Shocked and afraid, her ABCD Mentor became her lifeline giving her the hope and support she needed at a very difficult time in her life.

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Maureen Luddy: Embrace What Brings You Joy

When Maureen Luddy told friends about her breast cancer diagnosis, they asked what they could do to help her. Her response was always, “I’m going to be fine. If you want to do something, get a mammogram.” Diagnosed in 2019 after her annual mammogram prompted more testing, Maureen underwent treatment soon thereafter. By the summer […]

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ABCD provides ENCOURAGEMENT

Cindy Sellon has been a Mentor for six years and has mentored twenty women.  Remembering how she felt that day in her car when she heard the words, “you have breast cancer” Cindy understands firsthand the importance of encouragement from someone who has been given the same diagnosis, gone through the same treatments and surgery, […]

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Judy Mindin and ABCD: Meant To Be

Judy Mindin was ready for a change. After a successful career in sales and marketing at Pabst Brewing Company, she’d kept busy as a painter, and also owned and operated three galleries in the Milwaukee and Door County areas with her husband. But in 2006, life began to feel hectic and unbalanced, so Judy decided […]

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Comfort
ABCD provides COMFORT

28 weeks pregnant Jessica Storm was diagnosed with breast cancer.  ABCD was able to match her with a Mentor who had been young and pregnant when diagnosed and was now cancer free with a thriving child.  During her weakest moments she found comfort with her Mentor because she really understood.

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Lori Ahrenhoerster
Lori Ahrenhoerster: Blogging and Biking Through the Cancer Rollercoaster

When I meet Lori one late summer afternoon, I’m struck right away by her genuine warmth and openness. It’s a beautiful day, and our conversation flows freely. But it is a conversation she never expected to have. With no family history of breast cancer and almost none of the other common risk factors, Lori had […]

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Maria “Mimi” Nieves – A Story of Reinvention

Mimi Nieves was used to being in control. A single mother with three young children, she worked full-time and always kept her household – and her life – running smoothly. As a member of the Latino community, and the youngest of eleven siblings, Mimi greatly valued her independence and her ability to handle challenges on […]

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I am More
I Am More

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Perspective
ABCD provides PERSPECTIVE

Her phone rang in 1998 and Cancer Physical Therapist, Leslie Waltke, was invited to join a group of women who were determined to bring the need for emotional support to the forefront of the breast cancer community.  They did this by setting ABCD apart with its ability to provide perspective through personal experience.

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Guidance
ABCD provides GUIDANCE

Bonnie Anderson, was at the perfect place in her life – she was a borderline empty nester, she had just married the love of her life and then a call one night from her doctor upset her world.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her breast cancer diagnosis guided her to ABCD’s founder where she […]

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Faith
ABCD focuses on FAITH

ABCD’s first Latina Mentor, Maria Nieves – a single mother, has lived with breast cancer for the last thirteen years.  Her faith in God and ABCD have helped her through the times when the battle was not easy and giving up became her reality.

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ABCD provides EMPATHY

The partnership between Kesslers Diamonds and ABCD began a number of years ago and continues today. Jim Bretzel talks about the importance of our Mentors, and how he believes the best help for someone going through breast cancer is someone who can empathize with you.  Kesslers commitment to ABCD and its services has helped us […]

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Understanding
ABCD provides UNDERSTANDING

Concern over breast cancer awareness being limited to the month of October, resulted in a ten-year partnership between ABCD and the Marcus Corporation.  Tim Smith, talks about their role in helping to build ABCD’s awareness and how important it is for someone going through breast cancer to have someone who truly understands at their side, […]

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Janice-Cowden
Janice Cowden: Plan to Live

“Here and now.” That’s what matters most to ABCD Mentor Janice Cowden. She’s a mother, grandmother, and former pediatric nurse who’s also a passionate advocate for the metastatic breast cancer community. Janice was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Nearly five years later, doctors told her she had developed metastatic breast cancer (MBC) – […]

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Morgan Oldenburg
Morgan Oldenburg: Carrying on a Legacy, Her Own Way

Morgan Oldenburg isn’t one to seek the spotlight. But as the eldest daughter of the late Melodie Wilson Oldenburg, Morgan recognizes her role in carrying on an important legacy in the Milwaukee community. Her mother, an Emmy award-winning journalist, local anchorwoman, and television reporter, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992; seven years later, she founded ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.

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