Stephen Meredith depended on family and friends for support and now plans to take part in the 3rd annual Race for the Cure hosted by the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Photo by Deborah Stone.
by Deborah Stone
Breast cancer has claimed the lives of more than 400,000 women nationwide in the past decade. What many people don't realize is that men can also fall victim to this disease.
"We now know breast cancer is a disease that can be devastating to members of both genders," said Stephen Meredith, a local breast cancer survivor of two-and-a-half years.
He will be joining approximately 7,000 participants and volunteers on Oct. 13th in the 3rd annual Race for the Cure, hosted by the Puget Sound Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The event raises funds for local education, screening, support programs, and critical research. It includes a competitive 5K run for women and a coed noncompetitive one mile run/walk, both beginning at the UW football stadium.
Meredith, a Woodinville resident and high school counselor, was diagnosed in March of 1994. He said he let the lump in his chest go too long without checking it out.
"For three months, I made up a lot of things to explain what it could be. Guys just don't have this orientation. We are blissfully ignorant. I'm an educated person, but I acted foolishly," he said.
Meredith said he panicked when the diagnosis was made, and went through a myriad of emotions. Surgery quickly followed, with the removal of his breast and 16 lymph nodes. Following that, he underwent six months of chemotherapy.
The unwavering support and optimism shown by his family and friends have helped Meredith deal with the ordeals of surgery and treatment. His wife Linda's words have always been, "We're going to get through this." In answering his daughters' questions about the disease, Meredith has been candid and has shown them his scars.
He sees cancer as "a message to change." His lifestyle prior to diagnosis was enormously stress-inducing, and he truly believes he made himself ill. He has made changes in his life since then and feels his outlook and attitude have been greatly altered.
"I know what's important in life. I live more fully and don't dwell on feelings of anger and fear," he said.
As a result, he has been reaching out to other cancer patients. "I want people to know they can find their way out," he said.
For more information on the race or on volunteering, call 667-6700.