My Journey

When dressing for church one Sunday, I noticed that my right nipple was bleeding. The following Friday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. The hospital tumor board met the following Monday to inform me that my margins weren't clean--I then had a mastectomy. Five days later I was admitted to the hospital, very ill with a bacterial and staff infection. When I did wake, my comfort was my husband, Dein, and the crucifix on the wall. Eleven days later I was discharged, I was still very weak. After gaining strength, Dr. Ali, my plastic surgeon, constructed my breast using the fat and muscle from my stomach, which is called a Tram Flap. My body wouldn't reject itself. In 2004, I felt the need to 'give back' to that hospital and began volunteering. With the help of Sue Yun, coordinator of breast health services, I began counseling other breast cancer patients. Three years ago, I decided to 'pay back' the hospital by forming a group of volunteers to help other women in similar circumstances. In 2007 the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers became a non profit 501(c)3. Each year we have a "fun"draiser to enable uninsured women to receive a free mammogram regardless of their age. Our "stroll, walk, 5k run, or 20 mile bike ride" takes place in Oxford, Michigan, on the Polly Ann Trail. Please look at our website: to see the check presentation to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland hospital's breast program, In two years we have enabled 230 women to receive a free mammogram!
Pat Nolf
Lake Orion, MI