There are three words no one ever wants to hear: “You have cancer.”
Misty Kepano remembers those words distinctly.
During a routine mammogram, Kepano’s doctor found a “suspicious” area on her breast. She wasn’t concerned, however, because her last three mammograms had shown similar areas of suspicion that turned out to be fine.
This time, though, a breast biopsy determined those areas of suspicion were different, and Kepano soon heard: “You have cancer.”
“Those words echoed throughout my head, and I didn’t hear a single word the doctor said after that,” she said.
The initial shock was devastating, but Kepano only knew one way to handle the situation – to fight back. As the mother of two children, she was determined to do everything she could to ensure that she survived. She also did everything she could to keep a regular routine so her kids wouldn’t think she was sick.
Kepano immediately contacted a surgeon, opted to have a lumpectomy and endured daily radiation treatments. By week three of her treatments, she was back to teaching spin classes at Urban Active and cardio and weight training at the University of Louisville.
As a fitness instructor and teacher, Kepano knew exercise would help her during her battle with cancer. The high levels of endorphins and seratonin produced from physical activity kept her feeling positive and filled with hope as her surgery scars healed.
Now 10 months in remission, she has joined an all-female cycling team, Team Fleur De Lis, has competed in Cyclocross racing and finished in second place in the overall Championship Finale of the Mountain Bike Short Track racing season. She still teaches at Urban Active and U of L, and is grateful for the support and flexibility from her coworkers and bosses who helped her lead a normal life during her difficult experience.
Urban Active will show its support for Kepano and others battling breast cancer at its PINK Lit Restorative Yoga Fundraiser on Thursday, Oct. 20. Yoga has been found to benefit cancer patients by lowering stress and increasing fitness levels.
Kepano also will be in attendance to share her story about breast cancer and how exercise and a positive attitude can help those suffering from cancer.
“I think attitude is so important,” Kepano said. “What you decide to do with those words, ‘You have cancer,’ I believe in my heart that is what’s going to determine your outcome. I believe if you stay positive and have hope it will propel you forward. I have my check-up next month, and I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared or nervous because I am. But I also have hope and this is what carries me one day at a time, knowing that I’m going be OK.”
The PINK Lit Restorative Yoga Fundraiser will be held Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Urban Active located at 4620 Taylorsville Road and at 7:10 p.m. at the Urban Active located at 4900 Shelbyville Road. A $25 donation to breast cancer research is suggested and will provide participants with a PINK votive candle to light during class, a limited edition T-shirt, silicone bracelet and a PINK balloon. Non-members also will have access to Urban Active for the entire month of October at no charge. For information, call 502.894.9911 or 502.671.8233.
Slice of Hope
Louisvillian Josh Keown, art director of Pizza Today magazine, is also helping fight breast cancer through Slice of Hope, a fundraiser held in pizzerias throughout the country on Oct. 7 to benefit the Karen Mullen Breast Cancer Foundation based in Seattle.
Keown, along with Jeremy White, editor of Pizza Today, and Pete Lachapelle, publisher of Pizza Today, helped increase awareness of the organization by cycling about 50 miles each day for four days from Portland, Ore., to Seattle last week.
“We wanted to do a bike ride for charity that also brings together the pizza industry,” Keown said. “We’ve had close to 200 pizzerias sign up and had fundraisers at different pizzerias each night.”
With National Pizza Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month both in October, Pizza Today decided to combine the two through one organization. Oct. 7 was designated as a National Pizza Party Day by Slice of Hope, and a day in which pizzerias benefit breast cancer.
“It was a lot of fun and a great adventure,” Keown said. “Everybody went above and beyond. What the pizzerias put into it is what they got of it out. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Fashion Night Out
Along with the restaurant business, local boutiques and salons are also working together to help support the fight against cancer. Rodeo Drive, Blink Boutique, Circe, Dressing Room, Clodhoppers and Blades Salon will sponsor Fashion Night Out at the Seelbach Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 27, to benefit the Louisville affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
“This is the second year doing the event and last year it was sold out,” said Michelle Cohen Tasman of Rodeo Drive. “There’s six of us involved, and since we’re all women-based businesses and boutiques, we wanted to help an organization that focused on women. A lot of customers we know and friends have been affected by breast cancer and other cancers in some way, and we wanted to give back to the community.”
The six businesses also are selling Fashion Night Out T-shirts in their stores and online for $20 to help raise money for the cause.
Fashion Night Out will include a fashion show, dinner, raffle and auction that will feature jewelry, purses, furs, salon packages and other vendor items. Lynda Lambert, a breast cancer survivor and radio host on 102.3 the MAX, will emcee the event.
Cocktails will be served at 6 p.m. and will feature Heaven Hill’s signature PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. Dinner and the fashion show will begin at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $85 or $850 for a table of 10. Guests can buy tables and donate money in honor of those affected by cancer.
Visit www.fashionnightoutlouisville.com for information.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Ashley spends half her time writing stories at The Voice-Tribune office and half her time out on the town conducting interviews, while occasionally dressing in wild outfits to fully immerse herself in the experience (aka Princess Leia at Comic Con). Ashley is a huge UofL fan and loves the Yankees and the Boston Celtics (she is fully aware of the irony). She hopes to one day outshine Erin Andrews on ESPN and enjoys running, Bardstown Road/Fourth Street, Breaking Bad and reality TV (she’s not ashamed to admit that).