Finding Moments of Joy
Sean and Alisa Slovenski share a special tattoo with their daughter, a small pink ribbon inked on the inside of their wrists. They got them together, as a family, a year after Alisa was diagnosed with a type of breast cancer called DCIS.
“It’s something that we look at every day to remind us of what we’ve been through, how strong we’ve been,” Alisa said. “A reminder to not sweat this serious stuff anymore.”
Alisa’s journey with breast cancer began in 1996, when she discovered lumps in her breast. For the next 20-plus years, she underwent breast screenings every year, along with mammograms, ultrasounds, aspirations and occasional biopsies. For Alisa, it was a matter of when—not if—she’d be diagnosed with breast cancer.
In 2017, a biopsy revealed Alisa had cancer, and she opted to undergo a double mastectomy for treatment. “When I learned I had DCIS, I was finished with the worry and fear I’d had for 20 years,” she recalled. “I wanted to undergo treatment and have it behind me.”
“I always knew my luck would run out at some point and I’d be the one in eight women in the U.S. who is diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime,” Alisa said. “Even though I was vigilant with my screenings, there’s still nothing to prepare you for the words you have breast cancer.”
Sean, who has worked in health care for 30 years, recently joined Komen’s Board of Directors. Komen’s mission is personal for him and his family. “Komen’s focus on finding the cures for breast cancer, looking for new treatments is incredible,” Sean said. “They’re out there caring for people and funding scientists to do the research.”
“We’ve all been touched by this disease on some level,” said Alisa. “Whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, a sister, mother or daughter. We’ve all been touched. That’s why Komen’s work is so important—early detection, screenings and ways to reduce risk. Let’s end this disease.”
While Alisa and Sean both have grandmothers who passed away from breast cancer, a known inherited breast cancer gene mutation does not run in their family. But it hasn’t diminished their concern for loved ones and friends. “I do worry about my daughter and my sister,” Alisa said. “I talk about screenings and ways to reduce risk and taking breast cancer seriously. Early detection seems to be key.” She’s grateful for Komen’s resources on breast health and the research they’re doing.
“I thought there was a chance that breast cancer would take me,” Alisa said. “But it didn’t. So now, I try to wake up and find moments of joy. I’m exceptionally grateful for my family, and for the work Komen is doing.”
Now is the perfect time to unite with our Board of Directors and bring hope for breast cancer patients everywhere. Komen’s Board of Directors is matching gifts up to $300,000 through December 31, 2021. All gifts raised above $300,000 during this time will be used where needed most.