In 2013 the Women’s Health Conference featured inspiring stories of role models who work towards health: mental, physical and emotional. Helping others has always been important to Theresa Schmidt, she’s a champion for breast health.
Theresa worked many years as nurse doing shift work and holiday rotations, but when the opportunity came almost 13 years ago to join Women’s Way, she couldn’t pass it up. Women’s Way doesn’t only make a difference in the lives of the women they serve but also in the lives of their families. The women Theresa has helped have always been an inspiration to her, even more so when the reality of breast cancer hit closer to home.
Only 3 days after her 41st birthday, Theresa shared the daunting news with her family that she had breast cancer. Sharing this information with her children and the tears and fears in her mother’s eyes were the hardest part of her diagnosis. Still, almost two years later there isn’t a day that goes by where Theresa doesn’t worry about her family and what the future may hold. Although her physical scar is a reminder of how life can change in the blink of an eye, she is truly grateful for being given a second opportunity in life and strives to always be a better friend, co-worker, wife, mother, and daughter.
Theresa believes, as women, we do not take enough time for ourselves, but one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves, our families, and our friends is to make the time for our checkups. Although the tools we have to detect cancers are not perfect, breast and cervical cancer are most treatable when caught early. So, never skip a checkup and although we can’t change some risk factors, like being female and growing older, the majority of risk factors can be changed if we are committed to making healthy choices. We know that maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical active and limiting alcohol intake won’t eliminate our risk, but it does decrease it.