Breast Cancer Survivor says ‘DCC with Me!’
Two years after being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, Diana Fleeman is “hip-hopping” forward with her life, thanks to her “amazing team of doctors” at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at UHealth – the University of Miami Health System.
“I feel very fortunate to be treated at Sylvester,” says Fleeman, who plans to raise funds for Sylvester in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) on February 20, 2016, at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. “I’m looking forward to participating in the DCC’s 5K walk, along with a good friend who’ll be riding his bicycle.”
A residential real estate broker with Rose Realty, Fleeman and her husband John have two daughters. That’s one of the reasons they are supporting Sylvester’s leading-edge breast cancer research through the DCC. “We need to keep searching for better forms of treatment for future generations,” says Fleeman.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and the most common cause of cancer death among Hispanic women. Each year about 225,000 women and 2,100 men are diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 12 percent of U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.
Back in April 2013, Fleeman had her annual checkup and got a clean bill of health. But eight months later, she noticed a raised semi-circular swelling in her breast and realized something was wrong. “I believe that women should trust their instincts,” she says. “Be proactive, get a 3D mammogram, and talk with your doctor.”
At Sylvester, Fleeman’s medical team included Charles L. Vogel, M.D., professor of medicine, and Frederick L. Moffat, Jr., M.D., professor of surgery. Because her cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, she spent the next year being treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, followed by a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. “The doctors and staffers at Sylvester were with me every step of the way,” she said. “I let them do the worrying, while I did the healing.”
One of the things that kept Fleeman going was her hip-hop exercise class. On October 17, she was among the breast cancer survivors who danced in Sylvester’s “flash mob” before the Hurricanes’ football game against Virginia Tech. “I’m here today to salute the Sylvester doctors, who saved my life,” she said. “Now, I invite you to DCC with me!”
There are many ways to take part in the DCC, including riding, running, walking or becoming a virtual participant, and every contribution, large or small, makes a difference. To kick things off, two DCC Fall Family Fests will be held next month — on Sunday, November 8, at Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, and on Sunday, November 15, on the Coral Gables campus. Each event will have activities for the entire family, including kids’ rides in a car-free zone, a “Discovery Lab” where kids can view slides through microscopes and learn about cells from Sylvester’s research scientists, bounce houses, face painting, Dolphins Youth Program activities, and other entertainment.