Flutter Forward: Westfield woman shares her breast cancer journey

Digital First

(WWLP) – Knowing the percentages… I knew it was going to hit someone in my family, because there’s a lot of us women. And so, you know, that’s just the reality… and it was me.

Every October we raise awareness for breast cancer, but for some women, it’s something they deal with every day.

Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Donna Shibley, of Westfield, went to her primary care doctor with arm pain in January. Further examination found unusual tissue, which led to more appointments–a mammogram, an ultrasound, and biopsy.

“The biopsy is what showed that I had invasive ductile carcinoma on the left breast.”

What was the feeling when you heard those words?

“Yeah…it hits you hard, it does,” she said. “It hits you hard, but at the same time you have to process it and then you have to accept it, because there is a lot you can do about it there’s so many forms of treatment, but the acceptance was the key.”

Twenty weeks of chemo therapy followed.

“I lost my hair and didn’t feel well at all,” Donna explained. “Very tired, very fatigued, and then I ended up finishing the chemo in August, but the results weren’t as favorable as we hoped them to be… so I did end up having a mastectomy.”

Her fight isn’t over yet. Donna now has to undergo radiation Monday through Friday for six weeks. Through all the hardships, she found a way to move forward and pay it forward.

Flutter Forward with Grace

Donna told 22News after the diagnosis, she felt compelled to give back to the western Massachusetts organizations that have helped her through her journey. That’s how her campaign Flutter Forward with Grace came to life.

“I felt that moving forward was what I needed to do, but also I’m paying it forward by supporting the organizations that have been so good to me,” Donna said. “It’s been amazing how much there is out there. You’re not doing it alone. No matter if you have a big family or big network, the support is there no matter what.”

To help raise funds for the local organizations, Donna and her campaign partners Lorie Iacovelli and Sophie Kapsanis have been selling t-shirts and painting a pink Flutter Forward with Grace logo on driveways. To learn more, head over to their Facebook page.

Donna and her team of family, friends, and even some strangers, will be walking in this weekend’s Rays of Hope breast cancer walk in Springfield.

“It’s heartwarming it really is,” Donna said. “I’m just so touched. It means a lot. And it’s not just for me, I feel that I’m a part of it, but it’s really for all the women, and men too, that have been inflicted with this.”

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