WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- October is dedicated to raising awareness and support for breast cancer. You've probably noticed pink ribbons around town and pink items for sale in stores.
Karen Peters is back on track after a year-long detour. She says, "In the summer of 2013, I found a lump in one of my breasts."
She was soon diagnosed with breast cancer, had a bilateral mastectomy, months of chemo and several reconstructive surgeries. She says, "During chemo, one of the biggest things is you're just tired, very tired, and as a busy mom of three kids, things like keeping up with the housework and meals, keeping up with those things was invaluable."
An Ankeny based non-profit called Can Do Cancer helped her with gifts cards to nearby restaurants, monthly house cleaning services and support from a woman who has been through the journey. Can Do Cancer Vice President Heather Brewer is a woman who has been through the journey. She says, "My daughter was just about to turn 2 when I found it, but I'm 9 years out now, and doing great."
Brewer says it costs $1,000 to provide services to each patient. So far, they've helped about 20 women. Brewer says, "What we all found is we got so much support from everybody in the very beginning, and then it all kind of fades out because no one realizes going through this experience can last an entire year."
Can Do Cancer's biggest fundraiser so far is a trivia night. Last year, they raised more than $22,000. This year, they're also getting sweet support from a local business. Chocolate Storybook in West Des Moines is selling pink treats. Twenty percent of all pink item sales in October will go to Can Do Cancer. Owner Steve Shearer says, "We wanted to choose our favorite and most popular items. And, they are chocolate caramel apple, our cotton candy, our caramels and chocolate dipped bacon drizzled in pink."
The goal is to raise more than $1,000 through the month of October to help more patients battling breast cancer.
Peters says, "It can happen to anyone. It happens to one in eight women, so it will happen to either a family member or friend of most people at some point in their lives."
Chocolate Storybook is located at 1000 Grand Avenue in West Des Moines. You can also buy online.
Can Do Cancer’s Trivia night is October 25 at DMACC FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. Click here to sign up and for more information.