My mother, Julia Hansley, was diagnosed in December 2004 with triple negative, stage 3 breast cancer. She had a mastectomy, and started undergoing chemotherapy. The day before her last chemotherapy treatment in July of 2005, my step-father Joe, was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.
After his surgery the previous night, my mother went into her chemo treatment, in what was supposed to be a celebratory mood, and sat crying with a friend about what had happened the day before. The next step for both my mother and step-father was radiation.
For eight weeks they would have their appointments scheduled at the same time, and treated it as their weekly lunch date. They never missed a Race for the Cure, even if Joe was unable to participate, he still stood on the sidelines and supported my mother Julia, and her clan of supporters.
My mom relapsed in 2006 and started experimental chemotherapy studies for the next two years. My step-father had continued his fight, but passed away in November 2007.
In 2008, I was struggling with kidney stones around Race time. Our family still went to the race, even though I was in pain and I knew what I was experiencing was nothing in comparison to what my mother had gone through the last four years. I stayed by her side as my husband, dad and best friend ran to honor her. After the race, we ended up in the ER because of my kidney stones and I had to have surgery to remove the stones. All the while, my mother is still taking care of me, working full-time and receiving weekly chemotherapy treatments.
On December 21, 2008, my mother passed away. I have only missed one race since 2004, and that’s because my due-date was the same day of the race. I still registered and was determined to walk, because walking one of the best things you can do to induce labor, and by that point I figured I would be ready. My son came three days early, however, and I was not able to walk. I still wore my shirt on Saturday, and dressed my newborn in his race attire, a onesie with a breast cancer logo that read, “A cause I can latch on to.”
This year is my first time starting a team, Hansley’s Heroes, in honor and memory of my mom, Julia Hansley. She has always supported my sports teams and any activity I do, and I have no doubt she is still my number one fan and cheering her team on this year.