To say that breast cancer changed Cindy Lupinetti and her family’s life for generations is an understatement. From her diagnosis as a young single mother to the decor of her “pink ribbon room,” which her granddaughter fondly calls “our room,” fighting breast cancer as an American Cancer Society volunteer has become an everlasting mission for Cindy.
At just 36 years old, Cindy felt a lump at the top of her breast. “I called my family doctor and had my first mammogram on July 3,” she recalls. Cindy hardly had time to react to her diagnosis. By July 11, she had consulted a surgeon, and on July 15, she underwent a partial mastectomy and lymph node removal. “The tumor was the size of a cherry,” she says.
She received eight chemotherapy sessions followed by 31 days of radiation therapy. Her fiancé—now her husband—“was my rock,” says Cindy. “He was with me during every
treatment.” Although she is a 16-year survivor, she reflects, “The diagnosis made us realize that life can be short and you never know what can happen. It impacted my daughter dramatically. She was only 16 at the time.”
Cindy learned about the American Cancer Society a year after her diagnosis and, since then, has become a rock for many Delaware area survivors.
“A friend sent me something about the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life. My mom and I started doing Relay.”
Together, they relayed in Dover and in Milford. When Cindy’s mom passed away, Cindy’s five-year-old granddaughter Ava stepped into the Relay role of her greatgrandmother.
“The luminary and survivor walk are like a parade to her,” says Cindy. “She’s even fundraised.”
Ava loves sleeping over in Cindy’s pink ribbon room – where pink memorabilia is on display. Not only is Cindy a dedicated committee member of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, she is a survivor speaker, leads Look Good Feel Better classes at Seaford
Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, and provides Reach to Recovery support “wherever the
American Cancer Society asks me,” she says.
“I don’t think that women with breast cancer realize the vast wealth of services provided by the American Cancer Society. It’s important to help other people know that they don’t need to be out there by themselves coping with cancer. I give the 24-hour phone number of the American Cancer Society to everyone at my groups along with a survivor pin. I tell them that as soon as you’re diagnosed, you’re a survivor.
“At Look Good Feel Better, women receive cosmetics and learn to take care of their skin since cancer treatments can dry skin out. We teach them about wigs and how to create turbans.
“I believe that the American Cancer Society is No. 1 in providing services and education for breast cancer patients. They’ll put you in touch with whatever you need,” says Cindy, who will be walking with a team in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Sussex County.