Lori Skipper isn't sure what will happen when she goes on the Making Strides walk on Sunday. That's because last year when she attended for the first time, she was still going through chemotherapy.
"Last year, when I went, it was very emotional for me," she said. "I balled my eyes out when I got there."
Skipper first found out she had breast cancer on July 6, 2011. She was stage 0 when she was diagnosed. By the time she had a mastectomy, on Aug. 10, 2011, she had advanced to stage three.
She had four months of chemotherapy and radiation five days a week for six weeks. And while finding out that you have cancer is devastating enough, it is the side effects that have caused Skipper the most discomfort. First, there was losing her hair.
"When I went bald that was the hardest thing for me because my hair was really long," Skipper said.
But she has had more serious and longer-lasting issues. She has had back issues caused by the chemo eating away at her bones and she burned so badly from chemo that she had to go on medical leave to heal.
Skipper said that it has taken her some time to get to the point that she is at where she wants to reach out to other women who have been diagnosed.
"I always ask myself, 'why?'" she said. "It took me about a year to realize I want to help people."
Skipper will be a speaker at the Making Strides event, which takes place Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway, 500 Speedway Boulevard in Joliet. The walk begins at 8 a.m. and more information can be found here.
Editor's Note: A name correction has been made in this story. Patch regrets the error.