Customers come together to send cancer patient to conference
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Marily Considine has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, and because of the Copperas Cove Raising Cane’s, Pink Warrior Angels and the generosity of friends, family, and strangers, she and her husband and children will be heading to Orlando, Fla. this week to attend the Young Survival Coalition’s 2018 National YSC Summit.
On Thursday night, Raising Cane’s in Copperas Cove dedicated 15 percent of its sales to Considine and her family, raising $244.39, said Shaun Smith, store manager, who added that the store gets involved with local causes.
“They are an amazing foundation that gives back to our community,” said Smith. “At Raising Cane’s we love to help anyone that shares our same goals.”
Considine was at Raising Cane’s on Thursday evening and talked about her cancer battle. Now 40 years old, Considine was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 when her children were ages seven and four.
She’s especially looking forward to the conference in Florida because she’ll be meeting with other younger women fighting metastatic breast cancer – which means the cancer has spread to other systems in their bodies.
“The main thing, this is for young women. I went to a hospital support group and I was half the age of everyone in there,” Considine said. “Those women were wonderful, but my husband and I both have careers, and we have kids at home. Our lives are so much different.”
Considine was frank about her journey with cancer and what lies in store for her.
“This is my eighth year, I was diagnosed in 2010 for the first time. We’ll think it’s gone, then it keeps coming back,” she said. She initially had a double mastectomy and said she’d thought that it would keep the cancer from returning. Then it spread to her lungs, and last summer, she learned it had spread to her liver.
“They’ll try a treatment until it works, then when it stops working, they try something else.” Considine is currently on chemotherapy, three weeks on, one week off. She will have her chemotherapy treatment today, before flying out on Wednesday for Florida. She also has scans every three months.
“If it’s the same, I stay on the same treatment. If it’s grown, we will try something else,” she said. “I’ve been two years at stage 4. I asked my oncologist specifically when I was first diagnosed, ‘How long do I have?’ He said, ‘I don’t know. I’m not God. I can’t tell you. I don’t do statistics. Everybody is different. There are some that survive it for decades; we don’t know why. Then some might only have months, and we don’t know why. One thing I can tell you is, we have things we can try, and we’ll keep trying them.’
“I don’t ask, how long do I have? If something comes up, I’ll say, what’s the plan now? Because I don’t want to know. At some point, we’ll probably have to make that decision, but right now we’re taking it one day at a time.”
Considine is a former teaching assistant who left the classroom after she didn’t have the energy anymore. She and her family used to live in Nolanville, but moved to Copperas Cove where her husband has family, and she’s thankful to have family around to help.
Another of Considine’s helpers is Pink Warrior angels co-founder Julie Moser, who talked about the backstory to helping Considine.
“What Marily won’t tell you is, she was my angel when I was undergoing cancer treatments,” Moser said, whose husband is active duty military. When Moser had received her own diagnosis about four years ago, Considine, whose husband was also active duty, showed up on her doorstep with a basket, offering to help.
“She said, ‘Here are some things that helped me, when I was going through my treatments. You can use what you’d like to use, or not.’”
It was that type of reaching out that helped inspire Moser to join forces with another woman she met while battling cancer at the same time, Jen Reynolds, and the two founded PWA.
Right now, Moser is more than happy to help ensure that Considine gets to Florida for the summit. In planning the fundraiser through Raising Cane’s, Moser said she posted on Facebook about, asking for possible assistance with donating frequent flier miles for the Considines to travel to Florida. Within minutes, she said someone stepped up to make that donation.
At the 2018 YSC National Summit, Considine and other women like her will have the chance to hear speakers and connect with others facing the same battle. The summit will also have seminars for caregivers and family members to help their loved ones.
YSC was founded in 1998 by three young women who were under the age of 35 when diagnosed, and discouraged by the lack of resources available and the under-representation of young women in breast cancer research.
In her encounters with other patients going through stage four cancer, Considine said it provides her with some hope.
“I was diagnosed stage 4 a couple years ago, and two years later, I’m still here.”