Tina Hayward says she was lucky. Not only was her breast cancer found early, at Stage 1, but she also had an incredible network of support from her husband, Pete, and their sons as well as from other family and friends.
Hayward even knew exactly where to turn for information and treatment; a longtime friend is a leading breast cancer specialist in Delaware. She knows other women are not so lucky and that’s why she became involved with DBCC.
Hayward was diagnosed in June 2007 and underwent a lumpectomy and reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and a year on the drug Herceptin. She kept her upbeat and positive attitude throughout, and even continued playing tennis. She knows, though, that she did not have the same worries as some other women do.
“My sons are adults, so I didn’t have to worry about caring for children while I was trying to care for myself. I had good insurance. In some ways I had it easy, but I saw many others at the Graham Cancer Center who did have those worries, and I wanted to give back for their sakes,” she says.
Within a year of her diagnosis, Hayward became involved with DBCC as a member of the Board of Trustees and its Development Committee. She chaired the Northern Lights of Life in fall 2009 and served on the committee that started DBCC’s upscale resale shop, Great Stuff, which opened in Talleyville in October 2010.
“Tina is a wonderful resource to this organization,” says DBCC Executive Director Victoria Cooke. “She is committed to doing whatever she can to help make the breast cancer journey better for others, and she is committed to helping to bring in the resources we need to do our work.”
Hayward says she was inspired by other women who have faced breast cancer before her, including her mother-in-law and her husband’s aunt, both of whom were 30-year survivors. She says that today’s breast cancer survivors owe a debt to those who came before, like her husband’s grandmother, one of the first women in Delaware to undergo radiation treatments for breast cancer, some 70 years ago. Just as women today are indebted to earlier generations, they have an obligation of support to the current generation and of dedication to research for the future, she adds.
“Tina believes so strongly in this organization and what we are doing,” says DBCC Development Director Priscilla Rakestraw. “She has a giving spirit and a winning personality. She adds a spark of energy, of enthusiasm and understanding. It’s amazing what she brings to the cause. Her attitude is, ‘Let’s get this battle won.’”
It’s vitally important, Hayward says, that the people of Delaware know about DBCC and all that it does. “I am so impressed by the hard work, knowledge and compassion of the professional staff as well as by the organization’s many volunteers,” she adds. “You know when you are giving to DBCC that you are getting your money’s worth.”