CHICAGO (CBS) — Melinda Linas, 42, said she was in the best shape of her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in December.
With no family history or no other health problems, it came as a shock. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“I went in for a biopsy. They found out it was cancerous. I opted to have a mastectomy. During surgery, they tested my lymphnodes and there was a tumor on my lymphnode, so now I’m stage 2,” she said. “I was blindsided by this.”
Linas and 19 other women will be honored as a “More than Pink Hero” at this year’s 20th Anniversary Mother’s Day Race for the Cure on May 14.
“I’m very honored to represent the women that are currently fighting this battle and I’m honored because I want to stand strong for those who have to fight harder than I’ve had to and remind them that they are not alone and to inspire them and their families to stay strong and get through it.”
Lina’s best friend and fellow police officer, Jessica Jones, will also be honored. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer last summer.
“She’s 38 years old. She went in with back pain and they found that she had Stage 4 breast cancer. Now it’s spread to her bones. I joke on my fundraising page that she told me the end of summer that she had cancer so I joked that I’d go out and get my own cancer because she’s not going through this alone. So for the majority of this, we’ve had each other,” said Linas.
She said it means so much to be honored along with her best friend.
“It’s bitter sweet. We are both lucky to have each other and to have our support system, but it’s also scary because we are both young mothers. The word cancer is so scary. It’s a scary disease. We don’t know what the future holds. We both are waiting to see what our new norm is going to be,” she said.
Lina is undergoing her last round of chemotherapy.
“The race will be a celebration for me. A celebration of being done with chemo, about survival and about hope. It’s not easy. I tell other women to stay positive, take one step at a time and hopefully it’ll be a memory before you know it,” said Linas. “It’s going to be a celebration. I made it through chemo. I’m still here, still strong and still smiling.”
The 20th Anniversary Mother’s Day Race for the Cure Presented by Presence Health is on Sunday, May 14, at Montrose Harbor.
Race for the Cure registration is now open at www.KomenChicago.org. The race will enable Komen Chicago to provide life-saving screenings for those who can’t otherwise afford them, fund national research and empower people with knowledge.