Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Dance for the Cure volunteers are very special people. Genuine, caring, extremely giving and involved, they find their way to us from many different places. Here are the stories of two remarkable DFC volunteers, Brooke Herbst and Arleen Kornbuth, who know first hand the struggle with breast cancer, and who, on their journey, met Dance for the Cure and found a home full of kind hearts and kindred spirits.
"At the age of 43, having had a clear mammogram only 4 months prior, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer – three malignant tumors. I consider myself lucky. I opted to have a double mastectomy in hopes of avoiding any further treatment, and that was indeed my outcome."
I am a 7-year Breast Cancer Survivor, and my three cousins have been part of the Dance for the Cure organization for years. After my diagnosis, they recruited to me join them in pulling together my first Ribbons of Hope Event…. Well, I never looked back. The team that works behind the scenes to make Ribbons of Hope happen each year is amazing. Sometimes, you just drop in Basket Central (where the magic begins) just to see the amazing creativity of basket artists and to help out on whatever is needed that day.
I personally am a jack of all trades… Minus the basket creation lol… I have solicited donations for the baskets, prepped the days events, organized our volunteers for the evening basket running, ripped raffle tickets, folded programs, made table cards, sold tickets and branched out into my own community to pioneer events to promote Dance for the Cure. In addition, I have spread my enthusiasm to others and resulted in recruiting several friends. I have also engaged the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Cheer team to participate in the event in prior years and also started “Putting Pink in the Public” Parks in Bridgewater Township in 2019. This year the girls have raised almost $3000 so far to support Dance for the Cure in the absence of the Ribbons of Hope Event as part of their parks event. I certainly am proud to be a member of this organization!
"My breast cancer journey began in December 2005 when I received a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis at 46 years old. As many can imagine, this news turned my world and holidays inside out after what felt like a head on collision into a brick wall."
I was in disbelief and shock....how could this be? No one ever receives a death sentence like this after diligently following the screening guidelines of mammograms and doctor visits. I thought I was doing everything right by being proactive. I later learned that dense breast tissue could be very deceiving as it looked very similar breast cancer tissue.
I decided to get through the holidays and was scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy in early January 2006. That was my first hurdle and one that came with a weird sense of relief. Still in my bubble of fear, anxiety and confusion, I had to navigate my way through treatment options meant to extend my life. There was no cure. Little did I know that there are many options for treatment and the three highly regarded Oncologists I saw for their opinions recommended three different treatment plans. In the end it was my decision. It was at that point that I realized that my life was in my own hands. I trusted my gut and went with the option I thought was best for me.
My diagnosis made me see my future differently. I had to come up with a personal plan that would keep my immune system strong. I convinced myself that immune systems are meant to fight what the body perceives as enemies or threats. Although worrying had always been a part of my make-up, I needed to stop sweating the small stuff and things that were out of my control. I replaced “worry” with “living day-tight.” I also removed negative people from my life, replacing them with positive, uplifting people. Stress is a negative that the immune system recognizes as a threat and wants to fight it. I no longer had room for internal stress. I also made a conscious decision to listen to my body to keep my immune system strong. If my body says it’s tired, I listen, and I rest.
It was during this renewal phase that I met Kathleen Cirioli and Joanne Liscovitz, co-founders of Dance for the Cure. Kathleen, at the time, was a 2-time cancer survivor and understood my journey. Kathleen and Joanne inspired me with their positive attitudes and kindness. It didn’t take me long to feel their uplifting spirits. They are the type of people I try to surround myself with. They shared the goals of Dance for the Cure. I was fortunate to have had good medical insurance when the bills started pouring in. I know too well the costs for chemotherapy. DFC provides some financial assistance to families that are facing this challenge who aren’t so lucky. As soon as I learned what this charity does, I felt it was the perfect fit for me and I wanted to get involved. I love creating and doing crafts....creating beautiful baskets would be great therapy for me so I signed up in 2013. The cause is near and dear to my heart and being part of the team has been very fulfilling.
Along the way, I’ve met many new uplifting earth angels. I’ve become an earth angel for many who are living through a breast cancer diagnosis now. Like me, they are looking for that face of hope. I’m always happy to provide it.
"Sometimes I wonder why I’m so responsive to treatment and considered by many to be a true miracle. Somehow I know my calling is to part of Dance for the Cure and to be an inspiration to those that are just beginning their breast cancer journey."
Dance for the Cure is a 100% volunteer organization
501(c)(3) not for profit organization (EIN 10-0717874)