Andrea's StoryDuring a routine self-exam in August 2011, Andrea Repasky, 34, of Campbell, Ohio, found a suspicious lump in her breast. Her gynecologist sent her for an ultrasound, mammogram, and biopsy one week later. As far as available family medical records showed, Andrea had a clean family history of breast cancer. But on Aug.12 2011, Andrea received her diagnosis of stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). Andrea’s treatment began with genetic testing and lumpectomy surgery in early September. She began chemotherapy in November after spending most of October working with fertility specialists in Cleveland. “I knew chemotherapy could cause early menopause,” Andrea said. “I wanted to be ready for anything.” After her lumpectomy, Andrea and her breast care surgeon, Dr. Nancy Gantt, discussed the results of her genetic tests. The results revealed a mutation in her BRCA1 gene, a gene that indicates breast cancer susceptibility. Her results revealed that the chance of Andrea’s breast cancer returning were as high as 70 percent. “I didn’t want to take any chances,” said Andrea. “I decided on a double mastectomy.” After recovering from chemotherapy, Andrea had her double mastectomy surgery with Dr. Gantt. Her post-op was her first patient experience at the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center (JACBCC). “I had such amazing care from the beginning,” said Andrea. Inspired by the excellent patient care, Andrea set out to give back to her community.
As she sat through chemotherapy, Andrea began brainstorming ideas to raise money for the local center. “I wanted to do something kids and adults would both enjoy – something family oriented. It was springtime, around the time of March Madness, and I knew people would be looking to get out and be active,” Andrea said of her inspiration for her “Sink the Pink” basketball event. The event was a huge success. Multiple area businesses showed their support through attendance and donations. Over 1,000 people participated in the fundraiser. Participants played basketball and had the opportunity to bid on 165 different baskets in a Chinese auction. There was just a huge sense of community,” Andrea commented of the event. With the help of the community, Andrea raised $7,500 for the JACBCC. Andrea plans to make “Sink for Pink” an annual event.
Andrea’s donation will be used to support the Joanie’s Promise Fund. Joanie’s Promise will ensure all women will have access to the JACBCC. Therefore, all screening expenses will be covered for any woman who demonstrates financial need and transportation will be provided for any woman who requires it. Joanie’s Promise will also support a dedicated breast cancer community educator, who will educate the community about Joanie’s Promise and the importance of breast cancer screenings.