Breast Cancer Survivor

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. This month is trying to increase awareness of the importance of early breast cancer detection.

According to, more than 200 thousand new cases of breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in American women this year.

One Naperville woman knows that breast cancer can happen to anyone when they least expect it.

“I had no family history, no risk factors,” said Karen Paterson. “I am a walking example it can happen to anybody, and I am probably the person who least expects to get it.”

Paterson was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, and the one place she turned to for hope and love was watching her daughter swim at Neuqua Valley High School.

“I remember vividly sitting in the stands and trying not to cry with my friends,” said Paterson. “When I needed to talk or needed my friends around me I went to the pool, and that’s what swimming did for me.”

When Paterson was first diagnosed, her daughter and other people on the swim team organized the first fundraising swim meet at Neuqua Valley.

It was an effort to do something to raise awareness to the cause and to support Paterson, the team’s number one fan.

“The swim community has been a huge part of my life and I certainly owe it to anybody I can to help other people out,” said Paterson.

Paterson has helped raise more than $40,000 for the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation with the swim and diving fund raisers.

This year’s fundraiser is the first non-competition fundraiser.

Matea, Waubonsie, and Nequa Valley swim and diving teams might compete against each other in season, but this event has them coming together as one team for one fight.

“I love it because there’s so much energy and the teams are so into it,” said Haley Fox, Senior at Neuqua Valley High School. “I think coming together and doing such a big thing makes such a huge difference.”

The Passionately Pink Hour of Power raised more than $10,000 for the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation, and the three schools are already planning on next year’s fundraiser.


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