BANGOR — The Susan G. Komen Maine Race for the Cure-Bangor and Survivor Sponsor Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway have honored Nancy MacDonald of Brewer as a Survivor of the Week.
On Sept. 11, 2001, MacDonald was home after having a biopsy the day before. She was watching the morning news and the attacks on the World Trade Center had just begun.
“I was home with a bunch of friends watching the news when my doctor called to tell me I had breast cancer,” MacDonald said. “At that point the second tower had been hit, and I said to the doctor, I am going to have to call you back, there is a lot going on right now.
“Following that event, and any cancer survivor will say — I really appreciate life, I don’t take for granted the people I care about, and I live every day to its fullest,” MacDonald said. “Everybody was doing that after 9-11. I was part of a huge community that in a lot of ways was going through the exact same thing I was.”
MacDonald has a significant history of breast cancer in her family. Her mother was 38 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, 42 when she died. Her aunts and sister have all been diagnosed with breast cancer as well.
“We have a horrific family history,” MacDonald said. “I always knew, pretty much not if, but when I would be diagnosed. I was vigilant about doing whatever it took.”
That family history led her to be proactive.
“I had time to think about my choices and what they might be,” MacDonald said. “Most people who are diagnosed with breast cancer have to make really hard choices in a very short period of time. A lot of them never saw it coming. So they didn’t have time to think about, ‘What would I do?’ I had a long time to think about it.”
She had a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction surgery and endured chemotherapy.
“I thought I wouldn’t have to have chemo, but I did, and it’s tough,” MacDonald said. “I also had a complete hysterectomy, because given my family history, it was recommended. I was lucky I didn’t have to have radiation; my sister did.”
Nancy was diagnosed 10 years ago and has been cancer-free for eight years.
MacDonald was race chairman for four years and “loved every minute of it.” This year, she is involved with the race committee and volunteers her time at Shop for the Cure, where members of the public can preregister, pick up T-shirts and race bibs, and purchase Susan G. Komen items.
The Bangor Race will celebrate 15 years on Sunday, Sept. 18. To find out how to get involved, visit http:// www.komenmaine.org or call 262-7117.
Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway will host a reception on Saturday, Sept. 17, for survivors participating in the Komen Race and a guest. Race participants who are survivors can RSVP for the Survivor Reception at http:// www.komenmaine.org.