American Cancer Society helps patients through

- All of us know someone touched by cancer. That's why FOX 13 News is proud to sponsor the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer kick-off parties this month.

Denise Whitfield shared her journey through cancer with FOX 13's Linda Hurtado. She says the American Cancer Society contributed to her survival.

thought she felt a lump, but says she was just in denial about it.

“My journey with breast cancer began on October 5, 2017," Whitfield said. “One day I was at yoga and I felt so much pain it brought me to my knees."

She says the minute she walked into the doctor’s office for her exam, they said, "This doesn’t look good."

“Three days later, I got the diagnosis that I was stage three breast cancer. I had a 6.3-centimeter tumor.  My whole life changed. It brought me to my knees,” she remembered.

Whitfield went to St.Pete General Hospital for all of her procedures, including biopsies, mastectomies, and her port insertion. She says from the minute she walked through the door, everybody is so loving and kind and supportive.

“Coming to the breast center support groups, I realize I’m just in a pool of women that have the same feelings, the same aches and itches I have, and it’s so good knowing I’m not the only one going through this,” she said. “I got a call from The American Cancer Society. They teamed me up with someone to talk to. They would check in every day. I’d get invites on programs like how to wear your wig and which wig is good for you and makeup and dietitian The American Cancer Society has been a wonderful resource to me.”

She started walking in the Making Strides events long before her own diagnosis because her mother was a breast cancer survivor and, "My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. I walked in her honor. I was always a participant. This year I’m very honored to say I’m going to be a survivor.  Not only am I walking for myself, but I’m also walking in honor of all the doctors and the medical team that has gotten me to this stage of my life that have brought me through my cancer journey. For that, I’m so grateful.” 

If you are interested in attending one of the walks, information on both the kick-off parties and walks in October are below:

Pinellas County:

Kickoff: Wednesday, August 15, 5:30 p.m.; Manhattan Casino; 642 22nd St S, St. Petersburg 33712

Walk: Saturday, October 20; Registration 8 a.m., Walk 9 a.m.; Vinoy Park

Hillsborough County:

Kickoff: Thursday, August 16, 5 p.m.; Florida Aquarium

Walk: Saturday, October 20; Registration 7 a.m., Walk 9 a.m.; Amalie Arena

Pasco County: 

Kickoff: August 30, 5:30 p.m.; Fox Hollow Country Club, 10050 Robert Trent Jones Pkwy, Trinity, 34655

Walk: Saturday, October 13, Registration 8 a.m., Walk 9 a.m.; Shops at Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel

Polk County:

Kickoff: Tuesday, August 28, 6 – 8 p.m.; Lknd TV, 202 N Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland, 33801

Walk: Saturday, October 13; Lake Mirror, Lakeland; Registration 7:30 a.m., Walk 9 a.m.  

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