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Coleman Cougars Host Tackle for Cancer Event

The Coleman High School Cougars football team, which hosted the Peshtigo Bulldogs, held their 4th Annual "Tackle Cancer Game" on Friday, Oct 14. Recognition was given to five area women who are breast cancer victims. In the past three years, the event raised over $32,000 for not only local women battling breast cancer, but for BAMC Marinette Oncology Department as well. The 2016 recipients are Carol Ehlinger, Wendy Harris, Paula Seewald, Gina Mongin and Britta Sorensen.

Carol Ehlinger works at Coleman School District as both a family consumer education teacher and reading teacher. On Oct. 12, 2015, she was diagnosed with Stage 1A Invasive Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer. During her biopsy, she said if she was diagnosed with cancer she would have a mastectomy with reconstruction instead of having surgery followed by radiation treatments. Her surgery took place on Nov. 20, 2015.

Unfortunately, breast cancer runs in her family, she added, and at age 38, her sister was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and died three years later.

Because of her, a doctor recommended Ehlinger should have annual mammograms, which she had done since the age of 31. Early detection and regular checkups are imperative for receiving the best outcome, she stressed.

She said, as a recipient of the breast cancer awareness, she thanks everyone for their kindness towards women who have to endure the physical and emotional pain of being diagnosed with cancer. When diagnosed, she was told that living with cancer is a journey. However, this journey has not just been filled with fear, it has also been paved with unbelievable gratitude for the heartfelt generosity, prayers and concern from others, she added.

Wendy Harris of Peshtigo, lives with her husband, Kevin and a daughter, Jennifer, a junior in college. On Dec. 26, 2014, her life and that of her family changed forever.

After a day of testing, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She underwent six months of chemotherapy, 32 radiation treatments and a double mastectomy. The tumor had metastasized to the brain. Since then, she had sterotactic radiosurgery for two tumors in the brain but continues to fight every day. She added, she believes that with prayer and the support of family, friends and the public, we will never give up hope and must stay strong!

Gina Mongin, 36, while in her final semester of nursing school, was diagnosed with breast cancer in Oct. 2015. It was discovered in a miraculous way, she said. She had a swollen lymph node in her collar bone that led her to the doctor. This lymph node was later determined to be non-cancerous, but because of it, her cancer was diagnosed at a very early stage. She underwent multiple procedures including: an initial mammogram, a CT scan, 5 biopsies, an MRI, genetic testing for the breast cancer gene and ultimately, a lumpectomy followed by 35 radiation treatments.

She has had many ups and downs during her cancer journey. Radiation treatments caused sever fatigue and burnt skin, preventing her from working at times. However, because of her positive attitude and the support of family and close friends, she ultimately pushed through. She completed her final radiation treatment on June 9 and just over a month later, on July 18, started her first nursing job at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay. She had her follow-up mammogram appointment on Jan. 6, 2017.

She commented, she is grateful her breast cancer was diagnosed early and would want the same for everyone. Her advise for all women, is, don't delay in getting an initial mammogram and follow up with the recommended guidelines.

The journey for Paula Seewald started the beginning of last year. Because of family history on her dad's side, she has been getting mammograms since age 35. After yearly mammograms, there was a suspicious grouping of calcifications, which after biopsy turned out to be non-cancerous cells.

Because of this, she returned in six months for another mammogram and in October, she had another mammogram. There was now the same suspicious grouping in the opposite breast. Another biopsy was done, but the same result was anticipated as in April.

At this time, her granddaughter, Mattie was in Children's Hospital in Madison battling E-coli and its effects on her. When the surgeon came in and was all business-like, she said she knew something was different. The result was DCIS, which is only detected with a mammogram. It is not a lump and a decision as to treatment had to be made, but she felt she needed to be there for her family and Mattie. She opted for the least-invasive approach, lumpectomy and radiation. However, to make sure it was a well-informed decision, she did genetic testing. She didn't have the BRACA gene, so surgery was scheduled. Because the cancer was found very early, she only needed four weeks of daily radiation instead of six. After radiation, she was put on the estrogen-blocking drug Tamoxifen. Out of all treatments, this is the one that has caused the most side effects. With the help of some other medication, she got used to it. The recommended time for taking Tamoxifen is five years, so she added, she has a while yet.

Her first recheck is the end of the month and whatever the outcome, she said she is thankful for support of family, friends and community. I would urge anyone not to wait having a mammogram. Early detection was the key for me. An hour of your life could save you your life.

During a breast self-exam, Britta Sorenson noticed a cyst she had over 20 years had changed in size. She went in to have it checked and after testing, found it was Stage IV breast cancer. On Aug. 10, 2016, a previous diagnosis had changed because cancer had already made its way to the liver. With the use of different types of treatments, doctors are currently trying to put the cancer into remission. I am fortunate to have a great support system of family and friends. We remain very positive.


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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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