October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each year these 31 days serve as an annual international health campaign for employers like Rytech to increase awareness of this dreaded disease and to raise funds for research. Two members of the Rytech Mitigation Data Specialist Unit, Chris Alexander and Traci Hendricks, have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and serve as the emotional rallying point for the corporate-wide fight to find a cure and promote early diagnosis.
Please meet Chris Alexander and Traci Hendricks (pictured below) and learn about Rytech’s support for their fight against Breast Cancer and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
In 1980 Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan, that she would do everything in her power to end Breast Cancer forever. By 1982 that promise blossomed into a global movement called the Susan G. Komen organization.
Launched with only $200 and a shoebox of potential donors, today it’s the world’s largest nonprofit organization fighting Breast Cancer–with $2.9 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach and advocacy in more than 60 countries.
Rytech employees wage this fight like few others—a call to arms from two ladies who know first-hand the debilitating physical and emotional trauma behind this unique brand of cancer.
In 2006 a member of Rytech’s Mitigation Data Specialist (MDS) unit, Chris Alexander, accepted an invitation to participate in one of the many Susan G Komen 3-day fund raising walks.
It’s sixty miles–starting on Friday, ending on Sunday. Chris recalls… “I joined their journey to spread awareness, to find a cure and to support a close friend who was battling Breast Cancer herself.”
In 2019, as in most years, another 268,600 cases of Breast Cancer will be diagnosed, just in the United States. Ultimately Chris’s friend lost her battle along with 41,760 others who die from Breast Cancer annually.
Things took an ironic turn in 2015 when “their” battle became Chris’s war. Two weeks after walking the 3-day event her normal mammogram revealed a lump in her right breast. By November 11th she’d been diagnosed with invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Two months later the lump was removed, and months of Chemo and Radiation therapy began.
Then in the spring of 2016, Chris’s co-worker and dearest friend, Traci Hendricks, (also in Rytech’s MDS Unit) was also diagnosed with Breast Cancer followed by a lumpectomy and chemo and radiation therapy. “We both still live with the fear that at each mammogram this ugly monster will rear its head again” Chris says.
For both Chris and Traci the mammograms come about every three months. “I’m still taking a monthly injection in my stomach and a pill every day to hopefully stop this horrible disease from returning” Chris says. “In 2016, I couldn’t walk the event, due to treatment and weakness. But, it only strengthened my resolve.”
A WORD FROM CHRIS: My Rytech family and friends have been such a huge encouragement to me throughout these walks and my recovery. We’ve shared hugs, love and prayers. They’ve made donations to help me raise funds to hopefully one day find a cure. They encourage me each weekend that our team trains. This past weekend we increased our endurance by walking 15 miles, something we’ve been doing since May to prepare for the next 3-day event in San Diego November 15-17.
This year, 2019, is now my thirteenth year in a row since my original race. I will continue to walk until I physically cannot do it anymore!