IN IT TO WIN IT!
By Darla Bardelli
I have been a proactive supporter of breast cancer research on both of my radio programs “Outdoors Arizona” and “Outdoors in America” and in my professional fishing career as one of 100 pros in the National Women’s Bassmaster Tour — but never in my mind did I think that I would be THE“one-in-eight” women diagnosed with this life-altering disease.
I was uninsured when the painful lump in my right breast was diagnosed as stage III breast cancer. Unwilling to give up or give in, I started my journey into Cancerland with an aggressive search for healthcare.
Arizona has several programs for uninsured and underinsured women — programs that very few know about. Through the Arizona Well Woman Health Check Program, I was able to receive advanced diagnosis and treatment options.
The Phoenix Chapter of the Komen Foundation through its grant programs fund much more that just searching for the cure — Breastnet and the AZ Institute for Breast Health helped me understand my diagnosis and treatment options.
The Happily Ever After League helped with some of the costs of the medicines I needed that were not covered. For moral and emotional support, The Wellness Community and Breast Buds have programs to answer questions and help you get through the process.
All of these organizations are in place to give uninsured and underinsured women like me a change at beating breast cancer.
August 23, 2007 –The Day My Life Changed Forever — I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer.
Through the grace of God, the amazing programs available for women in Arizona, and my awesome team of doctors, and my sponsors, I was able to fish the final WBT tournament of the 2007 season before I started my battle with breast cancer.
I have successfully gone through six months of chemotherapy, and to give me extra strength during each treatment, I proudly wore my tournament shirt — the logo created for me by artist Bill McElroy says it all “In it to WIN it!!”
In February, I underwent a double radical mastectomy, and I still have seven weeks of daily radiation treatments and reconstruction before me. My battle with breast cancer is far from over.
However, with the blessings of my doctor, the support of my family and sponsors, I will be fishing as a Pro in the 2008 season of the Women’s Bassmaster Tour. While undergoing my battle with breast cancer, my doctors have scheduled my treatments and rehab around my fishing schedule — because I AM — “In it to WIN it!!!!”
Editor’s Note: We wish Darla the very best as she heads to Lake Lewisville, Texas, for the first stop on this year’s Women’s Bassmaster Tour, April 10-12.
And, we shall continue to support her courage and skill as she plans to fish Stop #2 at Lake Neely Henry, Gadsden, Ala., May 22-24; Stop #3 at Old Hickory Lake, Gallatin, Tenn. June 19-21, and Stop #4 at Clark’s Hill Lake, Evans, Georgia, Oct. 23-25.