October 3, 2023
Karen Wellington was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30. While fighting breast cancer, Karen focused on LIVING by being active in her kids’ lives, coaching soccer, hanging with friends, and never letting cancer keep her down. During her fight, Karen had a dream that once she beat cancer, her family would send another family living with cancer on vacation each year. After losing her battle 10 years later, her family fulfilled their mother’s wish and created the Karen Wellington Foundation, an organization that strives to provide women living with breast cancer a break from the stress of life and instead focus on the fun. Sometimes that’s with a spa day or backstage pass tickets to the concert of the year, while other times it’s a trip to the beach. OHC is proud to have many patients who have been helped by KWF in the past, and the most recent OHC patient recipient is Vicki Aylward.
Vicki found a lump in her breast in July of 2022 and was “soon diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma. Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive breast cancer that accounts for only 10-20% of cases,” states Dr. Benjamin Herms, OHC medical oncologist and hematologist. Vicki’s care team included her breast surgeon Dr. Dianne Runk and the OHC cancer care team led by Dr. Herms. “I didn’t really understand at first that mine is a rare breast cancer but had full confidence in Dr. Herms,” says Vicki. “As of right now, thanks to my surgeon and the doctors and staff here at OHC, I’m cancer-free.” After 6 months of chemotherapy, Vicki underwent a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
To compound the stress Vicki was experiencing, her grandson passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs) just prior to her cancer diagnosis. Dealing with so much, Vicki’s family has been focusing on trying to be positive and moving on. A cancer diagnosis can cause an insurmountable level of stress on any family, but when paired with the sudden loss of a family member, especially one so young, it’s hard for patients to focus on getting better. Thankfully, the Karen Wellington Foundation exists just for this. Their mission is to provide women the ability to go out and celebrate living through their diagnosis and creating moments to remember.
Nominated by one of her co-workers, Vicki was surprised to receive an email from KWF. “I didn’t think I was worthy of the gift, but I just really appreciate everything they did for us,” says Vicki, who has already shared with KWF that she wants to help somehow in the future, “I’m usually the giver, not the receiver.” Wanting to be with her family, who live in different parts of the country, and try to heal by spending time together, through KWF Vicki was able to take a trip to Santa Rose, Florida with her husband, eldest daughter, and son-in-law, and her youngest daughter. While in Florida, Vicki and her family were able to spend time
together at a gorgeous beach condo that allowed them to have fun and value the time they had together, as well as attend a nice dinner out together planned by her son-in-law, all thanks to KWF who covered their airfare, accommodations, and spending money.
“The work done by Karen Wellington Foundation allows patients to take a break from their cancer, enjoy life, and make important memories with their loved ones. It gives patients some peace-of-mind and impacts their mental health, which is just as critical to their treatment and recovery as medicine,” states OHC President, medical oncologist and hematologist, and KWF Medical Advisory Board member Dr. Randy Drosick. Because of the wonderful mission of KWF, OHC has regularly nominated women to
receive gifts from the organization. Patients often struggle with the financial, emotional, and mental burden a cancer diagnosis brings, and anything that can help those affected relax, if it’s just a week, or even a day, can mean all the difference in a patient’s life.
Vicki has already made it a point to pay it forward by nominating 2 women to receive their own gift from KWF, one a co-worker and the other, a newfound friend whom she met while receiving treatment at the OHC Eastgate office. Vicki has expressed her thankfulness to OHC and the doctors, nurses, and staff who have helped her not just fight cancer but support her to stay positive and find the humor in life, even when it’s hard.
Friends, loved ones, co-workers, and other compassionate individuals can nominate patients actively battling breast cancer to receive an experience from the KWF. To make a nomination or learn more about the Foundation, visit https://www.karenwellingtonfoundation.org/main.
To learn more about community resources available to cancer patients and their loved ones visit OHC’s website at https://ohcare.com/patient-resources/community-support-resources/. For more information on breast cancer, OHC’s breast surgical oncology program, and the advanced therapies offered by OHC’s cancer experts, call 1-888-649-4800.Comments (0)