Linda Settler: Finding Strength and Purpose in Breast Cancer Support
— Abby Padilla, ABCD Marketing & Communications Specialist
May 30, 2023
Nine years ago, Linda Settler received a life-altering diagnosis: stage 1A breast cancer. However, unlike many others, she had already mentally prepared for this diagnosis. Growing up with the knowledge that her maternal grandmother had also faced breast cancer, Linda always knew it was a matter of when, not if, the disease would impact her life. She faced her diagnosis with unwavering determination.
Living in Milwaukee, Linda knew of Melodie Wilson Oldenburg, a local Emmy award-winning journalist who had openly shared her own breast cancer journey. She also knew about ABCD, but initially believed she didn’t need a Mentor because her treatment had gone smoothly, and she already had a strong support system of family and friends.
Linda’s involvement with ABCD deepened when she participated in “Catwalk for a Cause,” a fashion show put on by The Institute of Beauty and Wellness which features breast cancer survivors as models. It was there that she discovered the close-knit community of individuals connected through ABCD and was encouraged to become a Mentor. At first, Linda questioned whether her experience could truly make a difference. But after learning more, she realized she could have a transformative impact on others and decided to complete ABCD’s Mentor training.
Embracing her new role, Linda has connected with breast cancer survivors across the country. She has been able to offer solace to those who lack a support system, enabling them to navigate their journeys with renewed strength.
What began as a desire to support others facing breast cancer evolved into something beyond her expectations. Linda discovered the profound impact she could have on the lives of those she mentored. One such instance involved a Participant with a laundry list of health issues, including a battle with esophageal cancer. Drawing from her personal network, Linda connected the Participant with an esophageal cancer survivor who provided invaluable support.
Linda approaches her mentoring experience with a philosophy of finding the good in the midst of adversity, reminding others to live with courage and optimism. Her positive experience as a Mentor point to the power of giving and receiving support. As Linda describes it “you can’t worry about what you don’t know. It pulls you down and it may not happen, and you have wasted all that time worrying. Put that to the back and look straight ahead.” With her infectious spirit and unwavering commitment, she is a guiding light for those navigating the challenging path of breast cancer, proving that strength and purpose can be found even in the darkest of times.
Linda Settler was diagnosed in 2014 with Stage 1 ER+PR-HER2- Invasive Ductal Adenocarcinoma and DCIS; opting for a bilateral mastectomy followed by hormonal therapy.