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Did you know that roughly one in every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during the course of her life?

Grim statistics, but we don’t need to take them sitting down. That’s why October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a nationwide initiative helping women detect and ultimately beat the disease while getting the support they need along the way. In fact, when caught early and still in the localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is now 100 percent!

Sometimes, all a breast cancer patient needs to hear is an inspiring story of survival to help them keep hope and not give up. That’s why your Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Lexus Dealers have teamed up with NBC 5 Chicago for Salute to Survivors, a campaign honoring local women who have not only beat breast cancer but are thriving.

Women like Sarah Fenlon Falk and Angela K. Walker.

After beating bone cancer at age 18, Sarah Fenlon Falk thrived for 23 years, completing graduate school, moving from northern Michigan to Chicago, marrying and becoming a mother of four wonderful boys. Unfortunately, Sarah was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, but the intrepid spirit didn’t allow the disease to hold her back. Today, Sarah — who resides in Kankakee, IL — is a proud two-time cancer survivor, and she’s helping spread a message of hope and strength through her work as a counselor and a writer.

While recovering from a bilateral mastectomy, Falk wrote an eBook directed toward newly diagnosed cancer patients titled, “Keeping it Together: What to Do When it’s Cancer,” which you can download for free here. When asked about why she decided to write the book, the busy, mother of four replied, “I wanted to share my journey so that those who are struggling with cancer, decisions, and feelings would be able to see that they’re not alone.”

Like Sarah, Angela K. Walker is all about giving back and empowering women, especially those who are either under insured or uninsured. Now 43, the nine year breast cancer survivor is dedicated to educating minority women about the importance of early detection, breast health and healthy lifestyles. Angela has provided testimony before the Chicago City Council, the Illinois General Assembly and on Capitol Hill, and is a founding board member of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.

“I want to see high quality mammography across the city for every woman in Chicago,” Angela says, adding that she uses her story as a message of hope to her fellow Chicagoland women. “When women are diagnosed with breast cancer they need to know that they have options, that there’s hope.”

It’s a message of survival that Sarah Fenlon Falk is compelled to spread as well.

“It’s very important to choose to be positive, to recognize the miracles in the mess, to find the beauty in the midst of the pain.”


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