Dancing with the Survivors celebrates women who have defeated cancer

- "It was scary people don't really don't understand what comes into your mind when you are diagnosed," said Sara Erzen. 

Sara Erzen remembers that devastating phone call, finding a lump on her own led to a diagnoses of stage 3 breast cancer. She was 21 weeks pregnant at the time.

"It's hard because it's a time where you have to keep it together for your family," she said. "But there are those moments in the shower there are those moments behind closed doors where your game face comes off."

Not only do women like Sara fight for their health, but there is the cost of cancer that can be just as challenging.

Stephanie McKire, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 52, was forced to go on disability and could barely make ends meet.

"Can't take care of our family, can't buy enough groceries," she said. "(It's) hard to deal with where your meals come from, when you are in treatment."

No one knows that better than Molly MacDonald. The mother of five was diagnosed after a financially draining divorce and during a job transition. Any money she had, went to pay the health insurance bill. She found herself in line at the food pantry.

"I met a lot of working women in treatment with similar financial problems," said MacDonald, the founder and CEO of the Pink Fund. "The social worker couldn't come up with a solution to the problems. I decided when I couldn't get help, it was for me to give help. And by this November we will have paid out more than $3 million in non-medical bills, patients housing and insurance."

MacDonald is the founder of The Pink Fund, which provides financial support to women and their families during breast cancer treatment. One of their largest fundraisers - the 'Dancing with the Survivors' event, is on October 5th.

"We wanted to share that story. We wanted to share it in a way that women could experience becoming a woman again," she said. "After cancer, you have lost your breasts, sometimes you have lost your hair, and you sometimes feel like you lost your femininity but the dance floor is a very good place to let it come out."

The Pink Fund was there for Stephanie as she worked to beat their cancer. And now both Sara and Stephanie they are giving back - spending hours dancing and practicing for their big performance.

"It is a great way to showcase my new normal - my new healthy body and my new life I have post treatment," McKire said.

"Doing this is an excellent opportunity to become reacquainted with - not even the women who I was before, but the one who I can be," Erzen said. "You go from someone who can barely sit up in a chair to someone who is dancing."

Next month Sara will be five years’ cancer free - and the baby in her belly as she battled cancer - is named Adeline - a beautiful, happy and healthy 5-year-old girl.

She will be in the crowd cheering on her mommy and all of the other survivors, who are able to say they are strong, confident and now cancer free.

"It empowers me to understand that I am capable, I am fearless, I am going to be okay," Sara said. “And to be able to do that dance and share that with my family and people close to me.”

If you are interested The Pink Fund Dancing with the Survivors event is October 5th at Silver Garden Events Center in Southfield.

For more information go to pinkfund.org/dancingwiththesurvivors/

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