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Carol Kratzer worked in the Benefits Department at Pilgrim's Pride for more than 19 years. As part of her job responsibility, Carol arranges for the Fox Chase Cancer Center mobile mammography van to visit her company each year. She explained, "They offer free mammograms to our female employees. This includes me, along with the spouses of our male employees and our retired employees. The challenging part is getting 20 women to sign up. It is like pulling teeth."
Last year, Carol had her 22nd mammogram. According to Carol, "I always knew I might be at risk for cancer. I lost my mother to ovarian cancer; my father to lung and colon cancer; and my sister to liver cancer. On New Year's Eve in 2006, I received a phone call that would change my life. I had breast cancer."
"Fox Chase Partner, Grand View Hospital, Took Great Care of Me."
Because Carol lives in Pennsburg and works in Franconia (about an hour north of Philadelphia), she chose a Fox Chase Cancer Center partner hospital for her treatment. She said, "I knew that Grand View Hospital's cancer center was affiliated with Fox Chase, so I was certain I would get excellent care."
Carol's first step was surgery to remove both breasts (called a double mastectomy). A month later, she began a course of chemotherapy, which consisted of six treatments. After a short break, she underwent reconstructive surgery. Her hair is growing back and she is feeling better. She even returned to work!
"Don't Do This To Your Family."
Now when Carol schedules the mobile mammography van to come to our office, she hangs up a poster that reads, "Don't do this to your family. Just look at me." She hopes it will encourage her co-workers to get a mammogram.
"I am truly grateful to the people of Fox-Chase for providing this opportunity to our company," said Carol. She continued, "It's hard to understand how many people say they won't get a mammogram because 'they are afraid they will find something' or because 'breast cancer doesn't run in their family.'"
Carol's daughter, who is at increased risk of developing cancer, turned 35 and just got her first mammogram. Carol said, "I hope she will continue to monitor her health closely. She is the mother of my grandchildren after all!"
Carol's daughter is the captain of a local Relay for Life in honor of her mother and in memory of her grandparents (Carol's parents) and aunt (Carol's sister), all 3 of whom lost their fight with cancer. The team, called the Walking Warriors, participates in the annual relay each May at Upper Perkiomen High School in Pennsburg, Pa. Carol explained, "I have the honor of participating in the survivor's walk and the lighting of the luminaries."
Carol would like to take this opportunity to "sincerely thank those people who are responsible for scheduling the van to visit various organizations in the Philadelphia region. If it wasn't for them, I might not have found my breast cancer in time," said Carol.