Our Stories Archive - After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Our Stories

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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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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MLB Honors Deb Probelski, 2021 Honorary Bat Girl

Congrats to Deb Probelski, breast cancer survivor, ABCD Mentor and huge Brewers fan, who was named one of Major League Baseball’s Honorary Bat Girls for 2021. Deb was chosen by the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club for demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to helping people with breast cancer. Watch video

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Phyllis Eig: Finding Others on the Same Journey

In June 2016, shortly after Phyllis Eig learned she had breast cancer, her surgeon invited her to a weekly support group for newly diagnosed patients. Days later, Phyllis found herself in a room with other women who, like her, were just starting their breast cancer journeys. Their shocked expressions mirrored her own. As she processed […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2020

As you may know, October is considered National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time of year dedicated to educating, communicating, and elevating understanding about breast cancer detection, treatment, and living with this disease.  However, for so many of us and the people we love, breast cancer is 365/24/7. And this year, so is COVID-19. At ABCD, […]

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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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2021 Breast Cancer Awareness Month Note from Ellen Friebert Schupper, ABCD Executive Director

Each year, as the calendar flips to October, we start to see leaves changing, days shortening and pumpkin spice creeping onto every menu in town. We also start seeing pink ribbons popping up at events and in our social feeds. While the return of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity to drive education and […]

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

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 facing invasive surgery. Warming up to […]

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I am More
I Am More

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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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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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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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Closing Out 2020

With the start of a new year comes new hopes, new dreams, new beginnings, and new aspirations. It’s a time to band together and make good things happen. And a time to look back and plan for hopefully better days ahead. ABCD made it through 2020 because YOU were here for us. We are beyond grateful […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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robin
Robin Schwarz: Giving Back Beautifully After Breast Cancer

Robin Schwarz was a busy mother of two young children when she learned she had breast cancer. It was 2010, and Robin did not know anyone else who had been diagnosed. Then friends introduced her to another woman who had also faced breast cancer and wanted to offer support. The connection made a lasting impression […]

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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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ABCD 2020 Award Winners

Join us as we celebrate ABCD and Honor Betsy Brenner & Carol Cameron! The Power of One-to-One Award Recipient:Elizabeth “Betsy” Brenner This year, we will honor Elizabeth “Betsy” Brenner for her significant help elevating ABCD’s mission and services. As a past board president of ABCD and retired publisher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Betsy is a […]

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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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dwp-after
2020 Date with a Plate – ABCD & COVID-19

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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