Katie Parker



My name is Katie Parker, and I was diagnosed with DCIS in June 2012, just two months after my 30th birthday. I was living and diagnosed in Chicago at the time, and decided to listen to my mom and get a second opinion in my hometown, Peoria, IL. It would be easier for her to care for me at home. (I lived in a 4th floor, walk-up, studio apartment and that may not have been the most comfortable arrangement for two months!) To oblige her, I came home, and I fell in love with my doctors. I knew I had to have my surgery here. And I did. On July 25, I underwent a double mastectomy, and have technically been considered cancer-free from this date! However, my later pathology showed one tiny spot in one of my lymph nodes, which put me in consideration for chemotherapy. After several more opinions, I decided to continue being aggressive with my treatment and underwent 4 rounds of chemo in Chicago from October to December 2012. Around this time, two realizations came to me. #1 I had to get a team together for the Peoria Race for the Cure and #2 I needed my family. I wanted to be closer to them. I registered my team and have been captain of Team Support Your Girl(s) for 3 years now! About two years after my diagnosis, I was faced with an immense desire to move back home. My family is everything! We have always been close, but my diagnosis brought us closer. Life was falling into place. My lease was coming up, there was a position open with my company in Peoria, and I made the move! Two days after my move home, I spoke at a local golf event for SGK. It was here that I met Linda Maricle and Gayle Young. I shared with them my desire to be more involved AND asked for their support in starting a Young Survival Coalition chapter in Peoria. They said, “Whatever you need, you let us know.” In December 2014, with the help of my friends at SGK, I started the Peoria YSC F-2-F group! At this time, I started to realize the purpose and reason for me going through this journey. Shortly after this time, a position became available at the SGK Memorial Affiliate office, and I sat down with Gayle and said, “You know I have a marketing degree and background in non-profit, right?” To which she replied, “No…..” to which I responded, “You need to hire me!” And together we fostered dialog that eventually led me to my dream job: PR/Marketing Director for Susan G Komen Memorial Affiliate!!!! I NOW truly understand the reason. I was meant to experience this disease to put me in a place that I can work with AMAZING people and help other women prevent and conquer this disease. Breast cancer led me home. Home to my family. Home to Susan G Komen. And how unbelievable that I get to share my story, Suzy’s story, and so many others in Suzy’s hometown. I have never been happier:)