Super Survivors Beat Cancer, Help Others

Jun 23, 2015

Mindy Pearse
Credit WUIS

As a nurse, Mindy Pearse has to call women undergoing cancer tests to relay the results.  Sometimes, she delivers bad news.

Pearse understands how those women feel.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer a decade ago.

"I gauge the people I am on the phone with.  If I feel, hey, they're going to benefit. They need a little extra encouragement here. I just took the rug out from under them and knocked them down," she said. "They need to hear it's going to be o-k.  It's more than a bump in the road. But it's able to be overcome."

"We lose women every day to this disease.  But those of us who are still here, if we can just be a team together and know that we are sisters in this, we can make it through this."

Pearse, an RN and a nurse navigator for Memorial's Breast Diagnostic Services, serves on a committee for the Super Survivor program through Memorial Medical Center. It honors women who not only go through the challenge themselves, but help others. 

"What we look for is women who obviously have been diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life," Pearse said. "Encouraging to other people, helping out new diagnosed women so they can see if she did it, I can too."

Pearse said everyone reacts differently to battling cancer.  Not all have to be "out and loud" about it, she added.  But a woman recognized last year inspired people by continuing to go to work every day and pushing through it.  Her co-workers nominated her.

Pearse says a noticeable change in women who get a breast diagnosis is they no longer sweat the small stuff.

"When you are faced with a life threatening illness, a lot of stuff becomes small stuff. I think their outlook is different."

"A lot of women are fearful of losing their hair and what their going to look like," she said. 'It's hair and it grows back."

Nominations for the Super Survivor program are being accepted until June 30. 

"We want to celebrate what they've done," Pearce added. "What they went through and what they accomplished.  They should be celebrated."