It has been two years since Cranberry resident Lisa Klenoshek received her clean bill of health, but breast cancer still affects her everyday life in ways big and small.
Small are the ways she tries to bake more and to clean less, and the ribbon charm she wear around her neck to signifybreast cancer awareness. Larger in importance is the time she spends mentoring three women recently diagnosed with breast cancer after she finished training to become a Reach to Recovery volunteer with the American Cancer Society.
Whether through speaking engagements or simple conversations with others, she also is a tireless promoter of breast cancer awareness.
“My goal is to touch someone every day,” she said.
Klenoshek wrote the children's book Zoey’s List of Love: A Sweet Breast Cancer Survival Story based on her experience of telling her then-5-year-old daughter, Zoey, she had breast cancer. Now she is campaigning on behalf of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk. The event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is in its second year, is scheduled for Oct. 29 at the North Shore Riverfront Park Great Lawn on Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
Last year Klenoshek placed fifth in the category for individual fundraising. This year she is determined to take the top spot.
“My goals is $2,500, but I’d love to do more than that,” she said.
There is no registration fee for the event, but Klenoshek said donations are welcome. She hopes the event one day will be as big as Relay for Life, which the American Cancer Society also sponsors.
“Right now, it’s just a feel-good event,” she said.
Klenoshek, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41 after a routine mammogram in 2009, is all about feeling good these days. After the success of Zoey’s List of Love, which Klenoshek and her husband, Bill, self-published through Mirror Publishing, Klenoshek has taken on numerous speaking engagements.
The events where she's told of her experiences include the Relay for Life opening ceremony, a Breast Cancer Coalition opening exhibit and literacy night at Evans City Elementary School, where her daughter is a second-grade student.
Klenoshek said she has no plans for a sequel to Zoey’s List of Love. Instead, she has been sharing some of the poems she wrote during her battle with breast cancer at various engagements. Besides her vow to clean the house less, she’s also taking piano lessons.
“I took lessons as a kid, but I didn't keep up with it. It’s one of my regrets,” she said. “I love it, and it’s so relaxing. It’s one of those escapes for me.”
Life has changed since her diagnosis, including checkups every six months to look for a recurrence of breast cancer. One thing remains the same: her love for her daughter. It’s for Zoey that Klenoshek said she is trying to eradicate breast cancer.
“She’s been my inspiration. Her face is all I could see in my head, and that hasn’t changed,” she said. “She’s the reason I do everything.”
To learn more about the event or to make a donation, go the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer website.