Who has the best lights in town? Vote now for your favorite in our holiday lights contest.
Courtesy of Dee Kropf
Golfers (from left) Dee Kropf, Pat Cusic, Linda Pilc and Dick Pilc were the low-net team at Rally for the Cure at The Waterfront Country Club.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Dee Kropf and Missy Chapman are survivors and volunteers. Both have battled breast cancer and both spent the first day of October at The Waterfront Country Club helping raise money for breast cancer research and programs.
The Rally for the Cure golf tournament has been a part of Kropf's life since she moved to the lake in 2001. At that time, she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Volunteering gave me a focus and a mission when I was facing breast cancer," Kropf recalled.
That mission has continued even though she has been free of cancer for about 13 years.
After Chapman was diagnosed in January, she had a double mastectomy. She underwent chemotherapy in March and had reconstruction surgery a little more than a month ago.
"There's camaraderie here when you find someone who has been through what you've been through," said Chapman. "As important as it is to have supportive family and friends, it is really nice to have someone to talk with who has been through chemotherapy and understands how badly you feel, and come through and they're still here."
Chapman and her husband, Ben, have a home in Moneta. Although mammograms repeatedly had come back normal, her surgeon decided to remove a pea-sized lump that she had had for a few years.
After the lumpectomy, doctors were surprised to find out that what they thought would be a benign growth was cancerous.
"I don't have any family history of breast cancer; I just didn't want to have the possibility of the cancer coming back," said Chapman of her decision to have a double mastectomy. "With a double mastectomy the possibility of the breast cancer returning is .05. I'm 56 and wanted to be proactive. I've got two children and three grandchildren."
Chapman said the experience has made her and her family appreciate life more. Ben and their son, Ben, were part of one of the winning teams at the tournament; 14 teams participated and about $5,000 was raised for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Rally for the Cure started in 1996 nationally and at Smith Mountain Lake. At the time, Susie Parrish, a 26-year breast cancer survivor, was encouraged by her daughter to start the rally. She organized the local golf tournament for 10 years. Kropf took over for Parrish in 2007. She and Mark McKee, The Waterfront golf pro, organize the event.
Held the first Tuesday of October during National Breast Cancer Awareness month, the tournament has raised more than $230,000 since it began, Kropf said. The money goes to the Roanoke Valley Komen for the Cure affiliate for research grants, breast cancer screenings and education.
Kropf donates her time to the Discovery Shop at Smith Mountain Lake, a secondhand store whose proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. She also volunteers for Reach to Recovery, which connects survivors with people going through treatment.
"I don't know which dollar or five dollars I raise is the thing that puts some specific research over the line, that makes a huge difference in a new drug or protocol for women," said Kropf. "The other aspect is just making sure women are aware how important it is to take charge of their health and get mammograms and be diligent in that area."
According to Kropf, Southwest Virginia has a low percentage of women getting mammograms and a high mortality rate from breast cancer. When the disease is detected early, before it has spread to other areas of the body, the five-year survival rate is above 98 percent.
"Be proactive," said Chapman. Stay on top of your health and be your own health advocate and don't wait if you think something is amiss."
Local office for Susan G. Komen for the Cure: http://www.komenroanoke.org/.
Weather JournalMix on Sat AM; coming blog changes