It’s a story heard often in the Runway community: an accidental moment of noticing a lump that turns out to be cancerous. In July of 2019, Jodi Garoun experienced just that, and at the age of 42, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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We welcomed Stacey to our virtual Runway last year, but today, Stacey remains positive and describes her breast cancer journey as “very smooth.” Always smiling, Stacey notes that she truly takes “every day as a blessing” and though the pandemic delayed her reconstructive surgeries- they were supposed to be complete in 2019, but did not complete until summer of 2020- she remains thankful that she has continued to be able to take advantage of life. Indeed, only five days prior to visiting the Runway offices in summer 2021, Stacey had one last major surgery and as she walked out of operating room to her father in the waiting room, he said, “you’re incredible. You still have a pep in your step after all this.” She can’t wait to honor her journey with the Runway family and we are so excited for the world to experience her positivity when she lights up the 15th Anniversary runway- this time, in person! We are honored to re-share Stacey’s breast cancer story below:

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As an ICU nurse, Liz Mover was familiar with the hardships of devastating medical diagnoses. It wasn’t something, at age 34, she thought she would have to face, but when she found a lump in her breast and started experiencing arm pain, her reality quickly altered. After a mammogram and ultrasound, Liz read over her biopsy report and was able to determine she did indeed, have breast cancer. After the news in February of 2018, “it was a total whirlwind” of genetic counselors, oncologists, surgeons and more. Liz had a double mastectomy, port placement and four cycles of chemotherapy: “it felt like time had froze, but in reality it was still very much moving. I was so involved in making a plan, but as time passed I still had to figure out how to tell my children why I would be losing my hair and feeling crappy.”

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arah Gean glows with positivity and it’s why one would never be able to guess how fraught with difficulty her breast cancer journey has been. Her diagnosis came from her own self-awareness, after she noticed swelling and tenderness in her armpit. Her ultra sound and mammogram did not show her tumor. It would be a follow up MRI that finally revealed she had breast cancer. She got the news while in the car with her family, just before Christmas, on December 21, 2019.

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Nicole Merhill considers herself “the queen of referrals to Mass General Hospital.” It’s a title most would never strive for, but Nicole laughs when she reflects on how many people she has connected with the incredible medical team there. She knows first hand how impactful an amazing team of doctors is because she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, but not before an incredible few months of self advocacy.

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Paul was seven years old when his mom, a single mother, was diagnosed with breast cancer. The youngest of four, Paul understood very little about what was going on, but his mom tried her best to prepare her children for what was to come. She arranged therapy for them and had support in place, but while Paul’s siblings were able to comprehend their mother’s battle, Paul found her death, when he was just 12 years old, a complete shock.

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On January 3, 2020 Laura Allen got the call no one wants. It was from her doctor, letting her know she had stage 1 B breast cancer. At a time of year where people are focused on goal setting and fresh starts, Laura’s reality was one of shock and uncertainty.

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Nine years out from her breast cancer diagnosis, Tara Runnals is reflective about how far she has come in her journey: “so much about breast cancer and the diagnosis is trying to get back to normal and rebuilding your body from intense treatment.”

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At 66, Hilda is an incredible picture of health and style. Matched with her grace and confidence, one can’t help but be enamored with her. Her breast cancer journey is one of inspiration, proving that out of an unfortunate diagnosis can come incredible moments of life changing clarity.

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