When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was momentarily stunned, then “okay, I guess it’s my turn.” After my middle sister’s double mastectomy and total abdominal hysterectomy 18 years before, and my mother’s lumpectomy a few years before – I felt like I knew the drill. Breast cancer was just something “to be dealt with,” gotten through with, and a smile and as much humor as possible and then “get back to like as usual.” I had incredible support from my husband, Richard, of 38 years, my daughter, “Dr. Laura”, and my son-in-law, Gregg, as well as my family of birth and myriad of wonderful friends.
My sister Melinda joined me in creating this “object d’art” in memory of our middle sister, Victoria Jane Illingworth Maloney, who died on October 20, 2006, of metastasized breast cancer. We worked together on this project incorporating all kinds of things (type of chair – rocker, color pallet, kinds of flowers, the bird houses, etc.) that were very meaningful to Vicki, and to the three of us as sisters.
Melinda, who has never had breast cancer, has worked for 30 years in the field of clinical trials and took both Vicki and me by the hand and walked us through the cancer experience as our staunchest advocate. As sisters, the three of us did everything we could to help each other through and it’s a special gift for Min and me to be able to create something beautiful in memory of Vicki that will hopefully bring in money for breast cancer programs and research to help someone else’s sister.