BURIEN, Wash. — Every family has a tie that binds. In this family, that bind is more of bond; five women and five stories of survival.
It began back in 1986, when Pat Muller found out she had breast cancer. Then Pat’s sister Mary Ellen in 2000. Then Maryellen’s daughter Nancy in 2003. And Nancy’s sister Diane in 2012. Most recently, Mary Kay, the youngest sister, was diagnosed in 2015.
“Two of us found it without having a mammogram. You have to check, look for lumps and look for anything unusual,” says Mary Ellen.
Only three of the five women carry the breast cancer gene. That’s why they say it’s so very important that every woman take the time to get tested.
“Get your mammograms. You know we can’t prevent it yet, but the next best thing is to catch it early,” says Diane.
And that’s why every October, they spread awareness. Every June, they walk side by side. And every single day, they take time to laugh. Maybe laughter is the best medicine of all.
“Good or bad our family uses a lot of humor,” says Diane.
It’s the way they celebrate their recovery. And it’s the same way they face the risk of recurrence. Just three weeks ago, Pat received her fourth breast cancer diagnosis.
“I’m fortunate I’ve got this family to watch after me and be with me and support me,” says Pat.
At 79, she knows all too well it’s a battle, but a fight she will never face alone. These ladies would never allow it.
“Once you’ve recovered, it’s pretty hard to have a bad day. There just aren’t any,” says Mary Ellen.
The ladies hope that by sharing their stories, others will be inspired to get regular exams.