When Michele Pincus was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, her mother had received the same news weeks earlier.
During her annual mammogram a few months prior to Pincus’ diagnosis, her doctor said some things were visible in the images but were not an immediate concern. As soon as Pincus’ mother was diagnosed, however, she started planning her next moves instead of waiting until her next appointment.
“Knowing that my mother was diagnosed, I couldn’t let doctors tell me they weren’t sure what they were looking at, what they were doing, what they would do next, so I took matters into my own hands and went to a breast surgeon who sent me for an MRI, and that’s how I was diagnosed,” Pincus said.
Pincus, a lawyer with Schroder & Strom in Mineola, was a single mother at the time, raising a 10-year-old daughter and dealing with both her treatment on Long Island and her mother’s in Manhattan, but both of them were able to beat breast cancer.
“I’m one of these people that is very forward-thinking and an attorney by trade, so I‘m very methodical,” Pincus said. “When this happened to me, instead of saying woe is me, I went into research mode and got the information I needed to move myself forward. As a single parent, I couldn’t afford to lose my step. I was raising a 10-year-old daughter at the time, and I had to keep going full speed ahead.”
Adelphi Breast Cancer Program director Hillary Rutter said Pincus and three other breast cancer survivors will share their stories during the annual Celebration of Survivorship on Oct. 17 in the Rush S. Harley University Center Ballroom. Doors open at 6 p.m. and speakers begin at 7 p.m.
Other survivors speaking are Christina Demosthenous, Margaret E. McGruder-Collins and Janet Rossi Zolli.
The event is free, though reservations are requested, and a light dinner will be served during the forum.
“The whole focus is for women who are going through a breast cancer diagnosis don’t feel so alone,” Rutter said. “It’s that feeling of being in a sisterhood with survivors. It gives people a sense of hope and inspiration. We have different speakers every year, and you never know their entire story. It inspires people to go on and that they can get through this. They’re not alone in that journey.”
Pincus, like many survivors, began helping other patients and survivors a few years after her treatments ended and began working with PinkAid, an organization that provides financial assistance for patients as well as grants for other breast cancer organizations on Long Island and in Connecticut.
“What [PinkAid] does is raise funds to help underprivileged women pay bills when they run into issues because they’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and they lose their job, or they’re going through treatment and don’t have a way to get to their treatment,” Pincus said.
Pincus, the grant committee chairman and advisory council member, first became involved with the Adelphi program when it received a grant from PinkAid.
“There’s a lot of need out there, and we’re thrilled to be able to help people,” Pincus said.