BOISE -- The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is scheduled for Saturday, May 11 in Boise. That's when thousands will race to benefit breast cancer research and detection throughout Idaho and nationwide.
The race is particularly important for those whose friends and loved ones are affected by the disease. Thirty-year-old Chantel Sheets and her 29-year-old sister Ciera Webster are among them. Breast cancer has been in their family for three generations.
Sheets and Webster tell KTVB their mother was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at age 35. She died at 37. Both say her battle with cancer was devastating to witness.
THREE GENERATIONS OF CANCER
What's more: years later, Sheets' and Websters' maternal grandmother was also diagnosed with cancer. Although the woman was over 70, she survived.
That's why Chantel decided to begin having mammograms when she was just 25-years-old. Two years later she was diagnosed with breast cancer after a biopsy showed a tumor.
"When they told me something came back on my MRI, and they scheduled me for a biopsy, I knew it was cancer," Sheets said.
That's when Chantel Sheets made a big decision, something many younger cancer patients are doing now. Even though the cancer was in one breast, she opted for a preventative double mastectomy.
"It lessens my chance for recurrence," Sheets told KTVB. "I have three little kids at home. I didn't want to have to go through chemo and radiation and have them see me sick like my mom was. So yeah, I chose to have double mastectomy."
While Chantel is now cancer free, her sister Ciera recently had a cancer scare as well. She had to undergo a needle biopsy earlier this year, but was relieved that the test came back negative.
Ciera says she's excited to join her cancer survivor sister for the 2013 Race for the Cure.
However, Sheets' and Webster's powerful story has also attracted the attention of race organizers. The local Komen affiliate chose the sisters for the race's 2013 campaign. Their message: "Because three generations of cancer is enough."
Webster says she hopes her family's story helps others realize that early detection is critical. "It doesn't matter your age and if it's in your history, you need to be diligent and just get checked," Webster said.
Throughout the past 14 years, Idaho's Susan G. Komen affiliate has granted over $4.1 million to research and detection in Idaho's local service area. The organization is dedicated to breast cancer awareness, education, screening, support and treatment in Idaho.
Individual registration for the 2013 Race for the Cure will close Tuesday, May 7 at Noon. Late Registration will be available at packet pick-up and on race day at the registration tent. However, late registration fees will apply.