Story by: Menisa Marshall on April 13, 2016
Ten years can feel like a lifetime when you hear the words, “You have breast cancer.” Time can stand still as you ponder what these words mean to you, your family and your future.
Ironically, time can also seem to fly by when you take on the cause of fighting breast cancer in your community. That’s been the experience of Derby Divas, a group of dedicated women who bring together fashion, business partnerships and community activism to raise funds for breast cancer programs and research.
This spring, Derby Divas will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of its annual fundraiser that features fashion, food and fun. The April 21 event at Rodes For Him For Her invites guests to shop for Derby hats and attire as they enjoy hors d’oeuvres, specialty drinks and socializing while supporting a great cause.
“We are planning for more than 400 women to join us for Derby Divas’ 10-year anniversary this April,” said Susan Vogt, women’s buyer and co-owner of Rodes. “It’s going to be quite a celebration!”
During the past decade, Derby Divas has raised more than $1 million with a focus on providing mammograms for underserved women. It helped fund Norton Healthcare’s Mobile Prevention Center, which provided 1,771 mammograms during 2015. Last spring, the new Derby Divas Breast Health Center at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital opened thanks to support from the event.
As a long-standing tradition, each Derby Divas event honors a breast cancer survivor. The 2016 honoree is Lynda Lambert, a well-known local radio personality and co-host of the morning show on 102.3 The Max. Lambert, who celebrates her 10-year cancer-free anniversary this year, shares a personal reflection on what this journey means to her.
As I celebrate 10 years cancer-free, the phrase “When time stands still” continues to make me shudder because that’s what happened when I heard the words, “You have breast cancer.”
I was unloading groceries when I received the call on March 8, 2006. A benign biopsy in late 2005 was not enough for my doctor, Dr. Art McLaughlin, and the biopsy was repeated a few months later. I was not so lucky the second time around. Or maybe I was.
Because of regular check-ups and early detection, my tumor was less than half a centimeter. I was stage one, and no lymph nodes were involved. My treatment consisted of a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery and five years of tamoxifen.
I will never forget the moment I received the call, the moment I was wheeled into the operating room or the moment I awakened from surgery with the question, “Has it spread?” I also have vivid memories of telling my husband my diagnosis and of telling our daughters, who were in elementary school at the time.
I am eternally grateful for my family’s unwavering support through an incredibly frightening time. My husband always made me feel beautiful no matter what, and my daughters always knew what to say to make me laugh.
And speaking of eternally grateful, we are so blessed with an amazing medical community in Louisville. When you are fighting cancer, never is that blessing more evident. Derby Divas is, in my heart, an extension of that community. Money raised over the last decade helped purchase the Norton Healthcare Mobile Prevention Center, so more women may take advantage of regular screenings and benefit from early detection. I know the determination and drive of these Derby Divas, and I am so proud to be a part of their 10-year celebration. We both have a lot to celebrate!
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