“People gripe about their birthdays, but each one is a gift from God, and I am so happy to be here to celebrate another year.”

Name: Deena Kleehamer
Age: 68
Job: Takes care of granddaughters and granddogs
Diagnosis: Stage 1 mastectomy at age 38. “Got a trick instead of a treat on Halloween” October 31, 1987.
Advice To Newly Diagnosed Women: You have the love of your family and friends but you don’t have to face breast cancer alone. There are so many support groups out there.
Support Group: Deena started a breast cancer support group in 1991 at Floyd Memorial Hospital and led it for 14 years. “When you have women in a support group who can understand what you are sitting and going through, it truly makes a difference. I led the support group for 14 years before handing it over to a friend for another 10 years.”

Advice Deena Would Give To People With Loved Ones Battling Breast Cancer:
Don’t be afraid to hold them, they won’t break. They are still the same person they were before they were diagnosed. So many woman said their husband didn’t know how to fix it or handle the situation. It was so important to give hugs and continue to reach out. Your attitude makes a difference. The women I saw in the hospital with a positive attitude are still here today. It is so important how you react when you are diagnosed. My daughter asked me one night when I was tucking her in “Mommy, are you going to die?” I said “No, I am going to be here when you wake up and go to school, when you graduate, when you get married.” I am celebrating my 30 years.

Best Thing Someone Did For Her During Her Battle:  We had some real estate friends who came over after my surgery and made dinner, a whole meal filled with friendship. Meals are very important, because after the surgery I struggled combing my hair and brushing my teeth. I had so many cards that people sent to me, and that meant a lot too. When I was home and recovering, it was wonderful receiving all the support that I got.

At our Pink Woman Fashion Show “pink” represents unity. Be part of the celebration on October 19!

Photo by Melissa Donald