Race For The Cure

April 24, 2008 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 34 Comments

This isn’t my typical weather blog. Instead it’s a personal story about my family.

You may have seen our story at 10pm Thursday about my daughter’s battle with breast cancer. That’s a sentence I never expected to be writing six months ago.

In a recent NBC5 Race for the Cure promo, I announced that my 34-year-old daughter Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer last November. She had a double mastectomy on December 19. The surgery went very well. There was no sign of cancer in the lymph nodes or surrounding tissues, so the prognosis is very good from here on out.

Jennifer was home from the hospital after just 48 hours. She recuperated rapidly, and said that she was bored at home! That’s a good sign that’s she’s really recovering.

Our daughters’ news was really a shock when we received it. Especially because Jennifer had no known risk factors at all. Most women don’t have their first mammogram until age 35 or 40. At age 34, breast cancer was the last thing from Jennifer’s mind. She is young and healthy, worked out regularly, maintained a good diet and is fit and trim. She had two children in her 20’s, and breast-fed them both. She had done everything right. And there was no history of cancer on either side of her family.

Even so, she got breast cancer. But through self-examination, she caught it early, had surgery within weeks, and the cancer doesn’t seem to have spread, so the long term prognosis is very good. She just has a lot to go through.

For the past three months, Jennifer has undergone chemotherapy treatments. The nausea wasn’t as bad as she had feared, but she said that everything tasted terrible, and she has had trouble eating. She’s lost 20 pounds this year. And after the first month, she began to lose her hair. So her husband Steve shaved her head last month. My son Ryan has always been on the slender side, and generally shaves his head in the summer, then lets it grow out for the winter. That first night after shaving Jennifer’s head, Steve joked that he thought he was going to bed with Jennifer’s brother! It’s good to know that he and Jennifer have been able to maintain their sense of humor throughout this ordeal.

Jennifer remains in great spirits. It’s amazing how strong she is. But I guess with 4 and 6 year old daughters at home, she doesn’t have much choice but to be strong. Her strength is what has made it possible for the rest of the family to be strong as well. Cancer is definitely a family affair. Her last chemotherapy treatment was yesterday. And Jennifer sent out this celebratory email to family and friends:

“Hip Hip Hooray! Jennifer finished her last chemo today!!!

I just had to share the wonderful news! I was actually looking forward to this treatment for once. Thank you all for all of the support and prayers. I could not have gotten through this with out God giving me strength, your prayers and support and my wonderful husband, Steve, taking great care of the girls and me while working full time, my family, Steve’s family and lots of friends. I made a major milestone today. I still have to have radiation in June and herceptin until February, but the herceptin doesn’t have the nasty side-effects like chemo.

I felt so happy and good that I walked 3 miles when I got home from chemo today.

Just in case you don’t know David will be interviewed by Jane McGarry about the Komen Race For the Cure that will happen in Ft. Worth on Saturday. The segment will air on the 10:00pm news. My oncologist Dr. Gumpta was interviewed by Meredith Land and it aired at 6:00. He is a wonderful doctor. I told him about David and that is when he told me he will be on NBC too. Neat coincidence.

Thank you,

Jennifer”

Jennifer still faces radiation for several months, and then reconstruction surgery.  But she is ready to get on with her life. She also sent out another email, informing us of her plans for next November:

http://08.the3day.org/http://08.the3day.org/

I have taken on an incredible challenge. On November 7-9, I’ll be walking 60 miles over the course of three days, camping out at night with thousands of other women and men taking this journey with me. My team is called the Cancer Fairies.

It’s for an event called the Breast Cancer 3-Day, which benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. Every advancement in breast cancer research, treatment, education and prevention in the last 25 years has been touched by a Komen for the Cure grant. They are working hard to build a future without breast cancer, and I plan on raising $2200 to help bring us closer to that goal.

In November 2007 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. It was a complete surprise to me because I didn’t have any of the risk factors, there is no family history of breast cancer and I was only 34 years old. I will be walking one year from my diagnosis. I am committed to raising money to help find a cure. I also want to prove to myself and other women going through cancer treatment that you can overcome this and come through strong and healthy.

Without a cure, one in eight women in the U.S. will continue to be diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s why I’m walking in the 3-Day. Because everyone deserves a lifetime.

Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising webpage and make a donation. If you don’t want to donate online, please download and print a donation form and mail it to the address on the form. Or you can call 800.996.3DAY to donate over the phone. I would like to reach my fundraising goal by September, so don’t delay!

Thank you for taking the time to read this email, and thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Perry

P.S. Don’t wait – donate today!

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://08.the3day.org/site/TR/Walk/DallasFtWorthEvent?px=1891343&pg=personal&fr_id=1184&et=JOtFrrQvWig5KfghG5VM9g..&s_tafId=62157

Click here to view the team page for Cancer Fairies
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://08.the3day.org/site/TR/Walk/DallasFtWorthEvent?team_id=41979&pg=team&fr_id=1184&et=NrFq9oXFKLSMRj7YFShWBQ..&s_tafId=62157


For more information about the Breast Cancer 3-Day, Susan G. Komen for the Cure or the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, visit

http://www.the3day.org/ or call 800.996.3DAY.

I am sure that Jennifer would appreciate any support that you, my viewers and readers, might be able to provide.  After her chemotherapy treatments, she doesn’t think she will have the energy to take part in the Race for the Cure in Fort Worth this Saturday.  But I will certainly be there, and I hope to see many of you there as well.  Let’s find a cure!

Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock

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34 Comments »

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  1. David, I was very touched by the story about Jennifer on tonight’s newscast. To be honest with you I don’t usually watch channel 5 but I was at the computer and too lazy to get up the change the channel.

    Jennifer’s story is very poignant and I am glad you told it. It seems to touch us more when it comes from someone we ‘know’.

    Your family is very strong and it is with that strength that Jennifer will come through this.

    Jennifer, I may not know you or your family personally but your story touched me. Seeing the faces of those little girls brought tears to my eyes. Bless you and your strength.

    Be well.

    Lisa Marchand

  2. David & Jen:
    My hats off to you and your whole family. It takes the whole family to get through what each one of you will go through till the doctors give your the great news that you are 100%. I know because my mother just completed 1 year of remission. I thought I saw everything growing up with her including strength I no parent needs to go through when my brother died. She is doing great and watching her gave the whole family strength and bond that we know now there is nothing we can’t overcome. Just as I know that after all the years watch you (David), you and your family will overcome anything. God Bless and I will keep your family in my prayers.

  3. Thank you and your daughter for sharing her story. I will also be participating in the 3day in November and hope that, among the thousands there, we might have an opportunity to meet. My team name is “Happy Feet”, we have 3 members but are growing. I am a 5 year survivor and this will be my 3rd 3day walk. Last year (in Chicago) I walked every step of the 60 miles and it was one of the proudest moments of my life. Jennifer has quite a year ahead of her – I will be thinking of her often and pulling for her in November!

  4. Good evening! I’ve been waiting with anticipation all week to see your segment on the air! Jennifer told us about it earlier this week, and we couldn’t wait to see the story y’all so bravely shared. I hope, as you do, that it will raise awareness among women of ALL ages!

    I moved to the same neighborhood as Jenn & Steve just over a year ago, and have been blessed to become friends with Jennifer. She is such a testament to the human spirit. I have been amazed at her strength and her positive attitude….I admire her as a friend, a wife and mother, and as a women of great faith. She is a survivor, and I have faith she will beat breast cancer!!

    I am honored to be walking alongside Jenn in November for the Breast Cancer 3 Day…

    I could see the pride you have in Jennifer reflected as you shared this story….thank you! God Bless.

  5. David, family & Jennifer

    Please know that my thoughts & prayers are w/ you all!!!!!!!!!!!!! I (this past Dec.) went through brain surgery. I had a tumor. This was not my fist scare w/ cancer. A couple of years ago, thought I had breast cancer. Thank God I didn’t!! So, I do know some what of what you’re all going through.

    I will continue to pray for all of you!! Please keep us informed as to how Jennifer is!! I feel as though you are all a part of my family, as I have watched NBC as long as I can remember. I grew up in FW & NBC has been around for my family for years!! I love the Finfrock forcast. I always trust you, David!!

    I have a 35 yr old daughter & a 33 yr old son (& 4 Grandsons.) I know how important family is.

    May God bless you all & keep you all safe.

    Sincerley,
    Donna Boston Oliver

  6. David, We have enjoyed watching you on channel 5 weather since we moved here 13 yrs ago and even our kids love you. You and your family will be in our prayers. Thank you for bravely sharing such a personal story.

  7. I know what you are going through my mother passed away with breast cancer nearly 50 years ago. I had the same scare 2 years ago, that dreaded word “CANCER”, I did not have breast cancer, I had lung cancer. I had surgery and the surgeon said that he removed all of it. I was going to the doctor every 3 months for x-rays and check ups, on my last trip the doctor said that I was doing so good that I only needed to come back every 6 months. One question though, how come we do not hear about lung cancer.

  8. Hip Hip Hooray is right! CONGRATULATIONS!

    Being a 3-time breast cancer survivor (also bilateral mastectomy/reconstruction), my heart tugged as I was reading Jennifer’s story.

    Praise God she’s doing so well! You go, girl!

    My thoughts and prayers will be with YOU and YOUR family as you live your life each day at a time with strength and happiness.

    Hugs, J

  9. David and Jennifer,
    I too was diagnosed with breast cancer March 30, 2007. Had yearly checkups and started mamograms at age 34 (history in family on both sides). I was angry when the diagnosis first happened because I thought I had done everything to make sure this would not happen. That lasted only a few days because anger will only make you tired and I knew I needed the energy to fight this! So with all that said CONGRATULATIONS on your chemo being done and all coming out good. I am also going thru the herceptin until november. I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your treatment and the Koman 3 day. I too am planning on walking in that. I will be walking in the Arlington Race for the Cure on the second as a 1 YEAR SURVIVOR!! Your support group sounds fabulous, I know I would never have been able to do as well without the support of my family and friends.
    God Bless you and your family.
    Anita Howell

  10. David, Jennifer & Family,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am almost Jennifer’s age and with cancer on both side of my family I will certainly remind my sisters of the importance of self breast exams and perhaps beginning screenings at an earlier than average age.

    I wish your family the best. Please keep your viewers posted as we do care.

    God Bless,
    Carrie

  11. To The Finfrock Family,
    I was also diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. That was in 1992.No real reason why,it just happened.At the time,I had just met the man who would be my husband. He stayed with me through the surgery,chemo and radiation treatments.My sister lives in Fort Worth and my parents were in Florida. My parents came to Dallas for my surgery in shock and with fear for their daughter’s life. A few years later, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and really leaned on me to get him through it.Today,my father is an active 77 year old and I am a 16 year survivor who was married to the man that saw me through it all at a Christmas wedding in 1996. I have been a participant in the Komen Race for the Cure in Dallas,Atlanta,Pittsburgh and North Texas sine 1994. With prayer and the support of those around her, Jennifer will go on to live her life and see her little girls grow up.

  12. David,

    Thank you for sharing your daughter’s story. I am glad that she is doing so well, and I will keep her and all the other people diagnosed with cancer in my prayers. I have a 7-year old Golden Retriever that was diagnosed with lymphoma last Novemeber and her last chemo will be on May 1. I know this isn’t the same trauma as it would have been with a child, but being “childless,” she is very much a child to me and the love of my and my husband’s lives. I’m sure you can relate because I read not long ago about you losing your Golden. We need to find a cure for ALL cancers … both humans and animals. Best of luck to Jennifer!

  13. To Jennifer,
    It was 15 years ago at this time (April) that I at 44 years old was also diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so scared. I had the mastectomy, and 6 months of chemo. It was in 5 of 19 of my lymph nodes, but I can say today, praise God, I am cancer free. I have never had another eposide of cancer anywhere, and just had a mammogram on Wednesday that was free and clear. Hang in there, you are going to be fine.

  14. Dear David,
    Thanks for sharing your daughter’s story with us. We need to get the story out to the world let’s all race for a cure. We really need one breast cancer has touched my family and we have decided to keep the race going for my sister. Jennifer keep your head up and be blessed.

  15. David,
    I am also a breast cancer survivor of 8 years, who was diagnosed at 35! It takes a family to beat cancer and Jennifer is such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story, it just might save a life! I loved your blog and I hope you will continue to share your story. Jennifer will continue to be in my prayers and what an incredible role model she has been for her children. How blessed you are!

  16. David, I was honored to have worked with your sister many years ago and know what an awesome family unit you have and how God will be with you all every step of the way! My prayers are with Jennifer and your entire family!

  17. David,
    Thank you so very much for sharing your precious daughter’s story. I too, have my eldest child, a daughter, who has Lymphoma, so I know a bit of what you are going through. This is her 5th year I believe, and so far God has Blessed her in that she is doing well. I have watched you since 1976 when I came to Dallas and have great respect for you. You and your family will definately be in my thoughts and prayers for her complete and speedy recovery.

    God Bless each of you.

  18. David,

    Thank you for sharing your story. My husband Tracy knows Jennifer from high school. He was heartbroken to hear about the diagnosis, but is glad that she is doing so well. She is in our prayers.

  19. Jennifer,

    Was so sorry to hear of your diagnosis.
    Your prognosis sounds wonderful and with your positive attitude and faith in God, you will be back to your old self really soon.

    It’s really strange that I read this today, because 3 years ago today, my then 34 year old daughter (36 now) was diagnosed with breast cancer also. She too had a double mastectomy. And after being genetic tested and testing positive for being a cancer carrier, she had a hysterectomy.

    She too has two children that were 6 and 3 at the time and a wonderful husband also. I am happy to say she and her family are all great today.

    Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and maybe we’ll all meet in the 3 Day Walk in November. This will be her 2nd 3 Day Walk.

    Keep up your positive attitude and you
    you will beat this horrible disease.

    God Bless!!

    Barbara

  20. David and family,

    I appreciate your telling this personal story as a reminder that we need to be aware of and support breast cancer research and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, as well as remembering we can detect cancer early ourselves.

    All the best to your wonderful family.

  21. I am a Texan that moved to Wyoming 1 1/2 yrs. ago but I keep up with my favoret news team. My thaughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  22. I saw the story about your daughter last night and I want you to know your family is in my prayers. My dad had cancer 15 years ago and is doing great! I always tell people to look at the word Cancer and then look at the first 3 letters, (CAN) and know that you CAN beat the disease and together we CAN find a cure!!

  23. David and Jennifer,

    Hi! I have been a loyal fan to channel 5 news for as long as I remember. I was sorry to hear that your daughter had breast cancer. Jennifer keep your head high and just welcome everyday and believe in your faith and that will get you through. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. David,Jennifer,

    I do know what ya’ll are going through. My mother-in-law just had reconstruction surgery today April 25,2008. She has been Cancer free now for over a year. My wife Lori did the 3 day walk last year to show her support for Breast Cancer Awareness and how important it is to be checked. And I will be helping with it this year on the crew to show my respect to the ones who have either beat breast cancer or those who have not. Your whole Family is in my prayers and that one of these days there will be a cure for this. God bless ya’ll and good luck.

    Sincerly,

    Barry Griffin
    Greenville,Texas

  25. David, Jennifer and family –

    May God bless and keep you each in His hand and in His heart.

    I have always loved your reporting – I caught the story a little late though. Hope Jennifer is doing great soon.

    FYI – my Grandmother (Ma) had cancer when I was in eighth grade (1979) She kept on going – fiesty as ever for 27 years – until she was 89!! Jennifer has a lifetime in front of her.

    Praying (and training for the Komen) until we know you hav beaten it.

  26. David, 30+ years ago I was a young manager of a trucking company and you were a fresh understudy of the great Howard Taft. Whenever a storm would hit our area I would call you and make my decision on running our trucks based on your opinions. I have always been grateful for that and have followed your career since.
    12 years ago my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and our world changed forever. She underwent what your daughter has experienced with the surgeries, chemo, radiation and was diagonosed again, a year later, on the other side. She then went through the programs again. With tremendous amounts of support, great doctors, lots of prayers and a positive attitude she beat the cancer and is doing very well. As strange as it may seem, we believe we experienced a multitude of positive things through the process that will last us a lifetime.
    Great luck to your daughter and your family. I have always thought that it only takes one prayer to get through and she will certainly be in ours.

    Al Frasier

  27. Lung Cancer causes:

    (1) Nicotine: Causes arteries, veins, capillaries, et cetera to CONTRACT. Not enough EXPANSION energy causes an expansion energy deficit. Expansion energy deficit = Contraction energy > Expansion energy.

    (2) Too much pollution: Same as above.

    (3) Et Cetera

    Breast Cancer causes:

    (1) Anything that would contract arteries, veins, capillaries, et cetera + Not enough sleep during the dark, night hours(daylight = acidic energy which causes contractions–“Sunshine is exciting!!!”; darkness = alkaline energy which causes expansions)

    (2) Et cetera

    God bless and good luck! : )

  28. David, We have you in our home since we moved to DFW in 2004 regularly every night in the 10.00 PM news. It was very brave of you, your Daughter Jenifer and your famliy to come forward and share the story. We wish all the very best and pray for the best to come to your family. God Bless you all.

  29. I was also diagnosed young, at age 36, in 2007, and continue chemo today. I saw David run today at the Race for the Cure, and ran myself (and didn’t do too bad). I also have two young children, much support, and a positive attitude. It is amazing the support we have with Komen and all the awareness that is around. I pray for a cure everyday. From one survivor to another…..be strong Jennifer. And David, this disease is definitely of the whole family. You remind me of my dad. Keep running and keep fighting! You’ll be in my prayers!

  30. David, it was very much a pleasure talking to you at the Race for the cure today. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer 1 year ago this month. It has been a long road but it seems thru it all my family is stronger than ever, my wife has been an inspiration to my daughter, son, and myself. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. P.S. Thanks for letting us take a picture of you with my wife and daughter also signing my sons hat. We watch you and channel 5 every night. God Bless you.

  31. David/Jennifer,
    My sister that is 9 years older than me was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 36. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34. Both of us were fortunate enough to have found it early and neither of us had any lump nodes involved. We both had bilateral mastectomies. It has been 27 years for my sister and 20 years for me.
    My wonderful husband, my daughters, family, lots of great friends and prayers helped me through it.
    I appreciate you sharing your story. I wish you and your family the best!

  32. I was just wondering why her treatment was so drastic if it was just one little knot that was found…Was that the extent of the disease, or is something being left out of the media reports?

  33. Jennifer, I am 50 years old and I too was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2006 had a lumpectomy, nothing in lymp nodes,(underwent chemo and radiation). I also don’t have any breast cancer on either side of my family. I was shocked when I found out. I had no idea what I was going to face and I was scared to death. Both of my parents are deceased and I wish sooo much that I would’ve had them with me while going thru this. I have a wonderful husband and 2 wonderful grown children and also my husband’s family along with wonderful friends and co-workers that stood by me every step of the way. It was all the strength I could endure along with all the strength they gave to get me thru this. I prayed everyday that God would see me thru this and give me so much strength. I had wonderful doctors and chemo nurses. While doing my chemo the nurses there were always smiling and you didn’t really know that you were there doing chemo they made you feel so good. Personally I don’t know how they can do that everyday and keep smiling. A year later summer 2007 my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer. He has completed his chemo and radiation treatments but is still under going tests. I thought that was strange, how could 2 people in the same household get cancer 1 yr apart. After talking to doctors and nurses they say it is very common. We had a rough 4 months with his treatments but again with the strength of family, friends and God we were able to fight the fight. We are both in remission. I wish you luck, and may God Bless you and your Family. I really enjoyed listening to your story from your dad I know he is very proud of you.

  34. Hi Jennifer, I don’t know if you remember me or not but we used to work together at Dallas Center and we shared the same mentor :). My maiden name is Cummings. I just wanted to let you know that you are in my daily prayers. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news that you are fighting breast cancer. You are such a strong woman and you will beat this! You have such a beautiful family! Your girls are precious. I did the Breast Cancer 3-day in 2006 and it was the most rewarding thing I have ever done! Good luck and congratulations on your last chemo treatment! I look up to you and your bravery.

    Sincerely,
    Aimee Stein


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