Susan G Komen Race for the Cure Ozark


Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 11

10 | Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk | April 2019 Coral Rose, a 10-year breast cancer "thriver" and yoga instructor from Fayetteville, is living proof that the dark disease can have a silver side. To support Susan G. Komen, and with her own desire to help breast cancer survivors, Coral held a special class on April 6 at Arkansas Yoga and Therapy Center. That's where she teaches yoga three days a week and was honored as April's Teacher of the Month. Five breast cancer survivors came to the free, private class. They varied in terms of diagnosis, treatment and surgery "as well as levels of flexibility and experience with yoga," Coral said. She mentioned one woman had been nervous about attending but "by the end was extremely relaxed and happy that she is looking forward to the next session." Coral had reached out to Lauren Marquette, executive director of the Ozark Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, to arrange the class, saying it would be "about the inner healing as much as it is the outer healing." There's good reason for Coral's partnering with the Komen foundation. A native of California with one daughter there and another in Arkansas, she moved to Fayetteville in 2002 and credits the organization for saving her life during a time she was uninsured. Now, she's giving back. Her cancer journey began in early October 2008 when she caught the Ellen DeGeneres show with Harry Connick Jr. talking about the premier of the Lifetime movie "Living Proof." He portrayed Dr. Dennis Salmon, the creator of Herceptin. The groundbreaking drug is used for treating breast cancer where there's an overexpression of what's called the HER-2 gene. At the time, Coral had no idea that she had cancer—she had no lumps, no pain, was healthy and active—much less that she was HER-2 positive, as she would soon learn. "At the end of the show, Ellen provided the phone number for free mammograms. I didn't even know you could get a free mammogram." She scheduled the test at the Breast Center in Fayetteville for mid- November, then flew to California, where "I had a job offer. They said to be back here in two weeks." Previously, Coral had been a successful retail buyer in California and Arkansas, but she left that career in 2005 and started her own business as a sustainability consultant, paying insurance premiums until the economic downturn of 2008. So, getting back in corporate was a relief. She had much to do to get ready, packing up the house and her belongings. Her mammogram had been scheduled five days before she was to leave. "I had my mammogram, then Dr. [Danna] Grear came in and started marking me up with a blue pen. She said I needed to come back, and I told her I was moving in five days. She insisted I come for a biopsy. I consider that very important — that she saw someone who was busy, who might not take time to take care of themselves, like so many women." The biopsy showed she had lobular cancer, with two of four tumors being HER-2 positive, which meant it was an aggressive form of the disease. Her doctor referred her to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach for treatment, where she had surgery, six months of chemo and a year of Herceptin. "By Grace, I now had health insurance! I took an integrated Eastern and Western approach to healing and fully restoring health," she said. This included yoga and a vegetarian, organic diet. Her cancer journey, like that experienced by many others, took her to "what's really important in your life. It deepens you and takes you within." Soon after she'd arrived in California, a nagging question prompted her to call the Fayetteville Breast Center. "This has been such a blessing — can you tell me who funded the mammogram and biopsy? They said, 'Whoever sent you here,' so I called Washington Regional Cancer Home and found out it was Susan G. Komen." Coral explained that she was one of 49 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 whose mammograms were funded by Komen. "That's why I'm raising awareness, why I'm passionate about helping others heal." In 2016, Coral returned to Arkansas to work for Advantage Solutions in business operations. "I feel I'm here today because of the grant Susan Komen provided to Washington Regional funding the mammogram and biopsy. Because of that, I'm here! I was able to be present at the birth of my great- grandson, Collin. When he was born, I thought, wow! How grateful I am. Some people may not have children or grandchildren or live to see them. I'm blessed." "Because of Susan G. Komen, I'm Here!" Cancer survivor pays it back by helping others heal • By Suzanne Rhodes

Articles in this issue

view archives of Susan G Komen Race for the Cure Ozark - 2019