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Komen Maine and Hollywood Slots honor Michelle Rowles as Survivor of the Week

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BANGOR - The Susan G. Komen Maine Race for the Cure Bangor and Survivor Sponsor Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway are proud to honor Survivor of the Week, Michele Rowles of Brewer. Rowles is co-chair of the 2011 Bangor Race.

"I had some time to give and I wanted to give back," said Rowles in response to her getting involved with The Komen Maine Race for the Cure for the first time. "After attending that first race, it hooks you right in. Without the race and the money and awareness that it raises, there would be many women who would not find breast cancer early enough."

In 2006, Rowles was diagnosed with breast cancer. "It took a little bit of time, I was sort of in a fog for about the first month," said Rowles about her initial diagnosis. "I was diagnosed in July and started treatments in the very end of August. I went to my first Komen race that September, pushed into it by a friend. To me I had only had two treatments. I wasn't a survivor yet. I remember standing on that stage thinking, wow, look at all those people. Whether they are supporting me, a family member, or a friend, at some time breast cancer really touches everyone's lives. It was a very empowering moment"

In 2007, Rowles joined the race committee as a volunteer, rolling T-shirts and helping out with registrations. In 2008, she was asked to chair Blues for the Cure, a concert that supports Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For the past three years, Rowles has been co-chair of the race alongside Denise Hodsdon.

After a week of treatment in 2006 Rowles felt confident in the process. "The tumor had shrunk so much that I could just barely find it," she said. "That was probably the first point in time I felt like I was going to beat this. It was one of the first real positives that I had felt."

"My doctors wanted to try neoadjuvant therapy. They treat you with four rounds of chemo to try and shrink the size of the tumor. Mine was two to three centimeters in size. If I decided to have a mastectomy, then the tumor would be gone and I was going to have to have chemo anyways; it didn't matter. Once the tumor was gone, we wouldn't know if I was responding to chemo or not. In my mind, for me, I needed to know chemo was working."

Rowles endured four rounds of chemotherapy. "I never had any reactions to the drugs. I was very fortunate," Rowles said. Her surgeon performed a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, and continued with four more rounds of Taxol, a chemotherapy drug. After Rowles finished chemotherapy she began a daily regimen of radiation treatment lasting 16 weeks.

Michele Rowles celebrated five years cancer free on Aug. 23. She follows up with her oncologist every six months and with her surgeon once a year.

The Bangor Race is celebrating 15 years on Sunday, Sept. 18. To find out how to get involved with The Komen Maine Race for the Cure visit www.komenmaine.org or call 207-262-7117.

Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway is the Survivor Sponsor for the 2011 Race. As part of its support, Hollywood Slots is hosting a reception the night before the Race for survivors participating in the Race and a guest. Race participants who are survivors can RSVP for the Survivor Reception at www.komenmaine.org.

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:42

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