Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure postponed to Jan. 27
Lynette Lamey never set out to be an advocate for breast cancer awareness but after fighting the disease for four years she is proud to lead the charge.
“Check your girls” is her battle cry and also the name of her Facebook page dedicated to the cause. It’s also the name of her team in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. This year’s race was postponed to Jan. 27 due to Hurricane Harvey.
Lamey, of Sugar Land, said it is fitting that the race was postponed. She said the fight against breast cancer is continuous and not confined to one month.
“It’s more than pink and more than October,” she said.
In recent years the month of October has become as synonymous with breast cancer awareness and pink ribbons as it has with Halloween and harvest festivals. As Lamey learned in the fall of 2013, the fight against cancer is more than a month; it’s relentless and unending.
A career woman with a job in the oil and gas industry, Lamey was making plans for a business trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Wanting to tie up loose ends before embarking on her journey, she went to have her annual mammogram. That’s when she got the phone call.
“We’d like you to come in and get a biopsy,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
She went in and had the biopsy.
“They called me on the day I was getting ready to leave,” she said. “We know it’s cancer.”
The revelation made for an emotional and introspective flight across the Atlantic. Having met with the surgeon, she was assured it was caught early enough that it wouldn’t take her life. What she had to decide was the course of treatment.
“I wanted to save the girls,” she said, referring to her breasts.
After a month in Dubai, Lamey came home and in October prepared to have the first of what would be five surgeries.
“I had a lumpectomy,” she said.
Lamey said she was glad it was caught early.
“It was an aggressive form of cancer. It was already in my lymph nodes,” she said.
The chemotherapy treatments, however, hit her harder than she expected.
“I was very ill. I cannot describe it,” she said. “Prior to going through chemotherapy the worst I had ever felt was food poisoning.”
She got through it with the help of family and friends.
“My bunko group brought food,” she said.
She said the hardest part for her was learning to let others help. She needed it.
“It’s important to have someone around you, encouraging you and supporting you,” she said.
Through it all she continued to work – or at least tried to.
“You have zero energy,” she said.
Even with the loving support of her husband, stepdaughters and grandchildren, she was grateful for the additional help she received. Having friends cook a meal or clean the house made a huge difference in her recovery.
“My only sister (Carol Lea) left her job and traveled from out of state to be my caregiver while I was undergoing back-to-back breast cancer surgeries in Texas,” she said, noting that her sister passed away last year.
Even though Lamey was weakened from the chemo, she was determined to participate in the Race for the Cure in 2014. She said the event overwhelmed her when she saw the support and encouragement that she and others battling breast cancer received. It was all she could do to walk a 5K. Still, she was ranked as the top fundraising survivor for the Houston area. She has participated each year since then and is continually one of the top fundraisers.
“Additional family members, my mother (Claudene Jones), my stepdaughter (Miranda Lamey) and my grandson (Branson Holley) attended Houston’s Race for The Cure with me last year,” she said.
Her friend, Donna Jones, is the Check Your Girls team captain. Her mother is also a breast cancer survivor. There are about six to 10 people on the team.
Not only does she raise funds, but she helps raise awareness whenever she can. She has been featured on television a few times talking about it. She has participated in a halftime segment for the Houston Rockets Go Pink Night at the Toyota Center. Last year she campaigned for Pink Shirt Fridays at work to raise breast cancer awareness in October.
In April she was recognized as a Pink Honor Roll member, ranking fourth among top fundraisers in Houston in Komen’s 2016 Race for The Cure. Also in April, Lamey attended Galveston’s Regional Chamber of Commerce 10th anniversary Celebrating Texas Women as a guest of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
As she prepares to participate in the storm-delayed Run for the Cure in January, Lamey takes comfort in knowing the dollars she raises goes to good use. Three-fourths stays in Houston for screenings, treatments and community support. The remaining fourth is committed to research.
She said that despite the devastation the area suffered from Hurricane Harvey, there is a need to support the cause.
“People are still fighting cancer whether we’re recovering from a storm of not,” she said.