Stories of survival

| April 20, 2011

Brunch with Betsey will honor six breast cancer survivors, and this week, we talked with two more of those honorees, Debbie Scoppechio and Wendy Martin. Debbie is CEO of Creative Alliance, and Wendy is a teacher and the girls field hockey coach at Louisville Collegiate School.

Debbie Scoppechio

Debbie Scoppechio

Q & A with Debbie Scoppechio

In what ways did your bout with cancer change you?

Being diagnosed with cancer and then subsequently beating it, absolutely changes your life – for the better. During the months of treatment I was overwhelmed by the support of clients and friends (and of course family). My spirits were lifted all the time, and my best supporters were my team here at Creative Alliance.

They were phenomenal and kept me laughing!   My husband should be sainted for all he did. So the real way I would say the cancer experience changed me was giving me an even bigger love of life. I have always had a huge love of life, but now it is 10-fold. My love of all the people in my life has grown exponentially. I try to take the time to spend more time with those that I love (and there are many). I am even more passionate about my work, but I remember that there is so much life to live and share outside of work.

The words “live, laugh, love” mean more than ever, but add the word “fun.” I also appreciate more than ever those who have cancer – with no one to help them go through treatments and to put a smile on their face. Gilda’s Club is a wonderful organization that helps everyone go through their trying times. In closing, of course I live each day as if it’s my last.

You are known for your generosity – of spirit, of time, of resources – what drives that?

Thank you for that wonderful compliment. I have been blessed with a truly wonderful life. To talk about how fortunate I am, would be an extreme understatement. I have had so much love and support throughout my entire life that it will take the rest of my life to “pay back.” I find that I have a lot of empathy for those less fortunate.

There are so many fantastic organizations that do so many good things in this community. And I don’t know how to say “no.” I do like to give of my time and Creative Alliance’s resources to good causes – anything benefiting cancer, children or animals. I am also a supporter of hunger relief, especially for children. I believe the more I have, the more I should give. I am happiest when I am making others happy. I think that is where all my passion and spirit stems from.

Wendy Martin

Wendy Martin

Q & A with Wendy Martin

Do you let the thought of recurrence affect your life?

No, I don’t worry about the cancer coming back. If it does, I’ll deal with it, but I certainly don’t think about it everyday. I think that would drive me crazy. Why worry about things now that may or may not happen? I don’t let the little things bother me as much anymore, and I try to make the most of everyday.

The Collegiate community could be called your second family. What does their support mean to you?

The support from the Collegiate community was and still is – amazing.

Actually, cancer teaches you a lot of things. I was totally amazed at the support and outpouring of love from students, parents, faculty, administrators and friends at Collegiate. One of the junior boys, Chris Townsend, did a beautiful piece of artwork titled “For the Struggle” for me and all of the art students signed it. I was so touched.

At first, I was so frustrated that cancer had the nerve to choose me during hockey season, but if I had to have it, it was a good time to deal with it. The support was unbelievable. My hockey team, their families and all of my assistant coaches were so wonderful and so supportive and it really helped to get me through my surgery and chemo.

I looked forward to going to practice everyday … that was a huge motivator for me. It got me moving when some days I really didn’t feel like it, but I love those kids and wanted to be there for them.

My friends, Linda Bilderback and Susan Maxwell, set up food delivery every other day from faculty, parents and friends, and I went to school before my surgery and all of the faculty and staff had on WendyStrong T-shirts they had had made. It was amazing!

The hockey community was amazing as well. Practically every game I went to, the opposing team’s coaches and players were so supportive. Jenny Dobbins and Cindy Geer from KCD started selling Wendy­Strong bracelets at hockey games to support cancer research. It was amazing to see that so many people care. Debbie Hodge signed up most of the Upper School students, faculty and alums to walk in the Strides for Cancer walk and raised a lot of money for cancer research.

There is no way I can ever thank them enough. My immediate family, Jeannie, my Mom who recently died from pancreatic cancer, my aunt and my sisters were there for me 24/7, and they made it so much easier for me to get through my battle with breast cancer. I couldn’t have done it without the support from all of these wonderful people.

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Category: Brunch with Betsey

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lori Kommor

Lori Kommor, Columnist/Event Chair

Lori wears many hats: writing two weekly columns, chairing The
Voice-Tribune’s events and keeping the staff fed with a stash of snacks
Willy Wonka would envy. She’s a fervent high school soccer fan (go
Collegiate!) and has the raspy voice to prove it after game days.

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