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Delia Troyer is a compassionate and caring mother, daughter, wife and sister. She has a soft voice and manages to find the positive in just about anything—except when it comes to cancer. Delia knows too well the pain and suffering cancer can cause. In 2009, Delia’s mother was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. “She didn’t want to worry the family, so she kept her breast cancer a secret for as long as she could,” shares Delia. “When she finally did share her condition with us, we were in shock.”
Delia admits that she didn’t know much about cancer before her mother’s diagnosis. She found comfort in reading stories of hope on the American Cancer Society’s website. She also encouraged her mother to take advantage of the American Cancer Society’s free “Reach to Recovery” program that connects patients with information and resources. Delia’s mother endured aggressive chemotherapy and a mastectomy to successfully treat the cancer.
With a clean bill of health, Delia’s family thought they had made it through the worst of their journey. But in a cruel twist of fate, Delia’s 28-year-old daughter, Francine, was diagnosed with cancer the following year.
“Francine had not been feeling well,” remembers Delia. “She went to the doctor and had two biopsies performed that each came back negative.” Delia and her daughter were relieved and ready to move forward. Francine, an avid traveler, continued with her plans to visit Japan. But when she returned home to Sacramento, she went back to the doctor with complaints of headaches, weakness and loss of appetite. Delia thought her daughter might have food poisoning. After numerous blood tests, Francine’s physician had much worse news.
“Francine was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer that had spread to her brain,” said Delia. “She was so young, intelligent and vibrant. We just couldn’t understand how this disease so quickly spread throughout her body.”
In a fog of chemotherapy and steroid treatments, Francine couldn’t figure out why she was fighting so hard to live either. She didn’t feel well. She started to look different. Her mother turned once again to the American Cancer Society. “The support that we experienced for my mother was there for my daughter,” remembers Delia. “I just can’t thank all of the volunteers and staff enough for making Francine’s life a little better with phone calls to check on her and by providing scarves and wigs once Francine lost her hair.”
In May 2011, just 10 months after being diagnosed, 29-year-old Francine lost her battle with cancer. Since then, Delia has formed a memorial team in honor of her daughter that will walk again this year during the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” on October 21. “She was my first daughter, my parents’ first granddaughter and the first of us to go to heaven,” shares Delia. “She gives me the strength to give back to those in need.”
The American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k walk takes place on Sunday, Oct. 21 at the West Steps of the State Capitol. Registration is at 7 a.m. The walk begins at 8 a.m. with a rolling start. To learn more, visit makingstrideswalk.org/sacramento or call 916.446.7933.