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The North Bend Eagle


Pink out has special menaing for Ruzicka

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 10/19/11

Thursday [Oct. 20, 2011]night there will be a “Pink Out” at North Bend Central volleyball game to remind people that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Pat Ruzicka has been cancer free for 5 years  this monthPat Ruzicka shows the bouquet of pink flowers her family gave her in celebration of five years being cancer-free.

For Pat Ruzicka, the whole month of October is a celebration. Ruzicka, 59, is celebrating five years cancer free this October.

At the age of 50 suspicious spots were seen on Ruzicka’s mammogram. She faithfully had her mammogram done every year in January. In 2006 with her daughter’s wedding on her mind, she put her mammogram off until August, after the celebration. Cancer was found. Surgery was in October, followed by a year and a half of chemotherapy and continuing medications. Because of research, she was one of the first to receive a new drug, Herceptin, for her specific kind of fast growing-cancer.

The research, the drugs and support of family and friends got her to this five-year celebration of being cancer-free.

“My family, friends and co-workers gathered around me with love and support which carried me through the perils of chemotherapy,” Ruzicka said. “I drew inspiration from survivor friends who battled cancer before me, and put my faith in my fabulous team of doctors.”

Husband, Larry, daughters Hailey and Melinn, and sons Tyler and Todd, gave her a plaque reading Each day is a gift at the beginning of her fight against cancer. They gave her a large bouquet of pink flowers last week to mark her five years of being cancer free. Her sister, Cindy Brown, gave her a sign reading “Every breath we draw is ‘Hallelujah’” to celebrate this anniversary.

Ruzicka works at Midland University where a “Pink Out” was held last week in conjunction with a women’s volleyball game. She thinks the one at NBC is a great idea.

“It’s great young people are supporting the cause,” she said. “If knowledge starts with the young, there is less chance they will have to go through what I went through. I’m sure all of them have someone in mind (who had breast cancer) when they take part in these activities.”

The event at NBC is being organized by student’s in Ross LaFleur’s mass communication class, Alyssa, Schutt, Katy Muller, Hunter Cave and Zana Rhynalds. They are are raising funds for the Hope 4 You Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. They have put pink jars out around town and will have pink buckets at the entry to the volleyball game.

The project stemmed from an audit project written by Alyssa Schutt. The class discussed and brain stormed several ideas about how to bring breast cancer awareness to the school and community. The students called local businesses, created posters, advertisements, and media projects to inform people.

“Every week we write audits, last week mine was on Breast Cancer Awareness in the NFL, we brought it to life in our school,” Schutt said.

LaFleur was pleased with the students enthusiasm for the project.

“It is great to see the students applying their learning, problem solving, and above all helping a worthy cause,” LaFleur said. “I hope their project is well received and supported by many people.”

Ruzicka has participated in Relay for Life, Race for the Cure and other activities to raise funds for breast cancer research.

“I owe my life to research, Ruzicka said. “Research will allow there to be more birthdays, more mothers-of-the-brides, more grandmothers. When my grandchildren were born, I knew all I had gone through was worth it.”

Ruzicka hopes that this event will also bring more awareness to the need for regular mammograms and watching for signs of cancer.

“The earlier it is found, the greater the chance of survival.”

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