Being diagnosed with cancer didn't stop this year's Race for the Cure local team survivor from living life and giving back.
Lori Kodet fought through her disease, and is now fighting for a cure.
Kodet, of Pequot Lakes, was named to this year's honorary New Balance survivor team, and has been sharing her story about cancer survival.
Four years ago, just after her 34th birthday, Kodet started having pains in her breasts and arm, that led her to believe something was not right. After an initial doctor's consultation, she was told her problem was related to her menstrual cycle, and to take ibuprofen for the pain. She insisted that it was something else.
Hundred of runners Saturday started the 5-kilometer run near Don Adamson Field for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. (Dispatch Photos by Clint Wood)
After meeting with another doctor and after a biopsy, she was told that a quarter-sized growth in her left breast was cancerous.
After a mammogram and a CT scan, her doctors decided to schedule three rounds of chemotherapy. After chemo, the next step was surgery. As a result of a few surgeries, Kodet had 12 lymph nodes removed and both breasts. The final step in treatment was six weeks of intensive radiation. "The only side effect was that I felt as if someone sucked the life out of me, but all in all, no big deal," she said.
Kodet has almost reached the five-year mark, which is considered a success point in the fight against cancer. A big step for her recovery was the reconstructive breast surgery she went through in April. "It's really helped my sense of being," Kodet said. "It's not an everyday reminder anymore."
Kodet said her family played a huge part in her recovery. She has two children, ages 11 and 8. When she was first diagnosed, her husband's family walked for her in the Race for the Cure. Kodet first participated in the event last year, running the 5K in Minneapolis. "The whole experience was just so moving," she said. This year, her team numbered 21, taking the name LK, or Lucky Kodet.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure helps to fund mammograms and programs for breast cancer awareness. The money raised comes from the $12 entry fee and donations. Of the total amount raised, 25 percent goes to the Komen fund, to fund national research grants, and 75 percent of the money stays in Crow Wing and Cass counties for cancer-related education and treatment programs.
The race Saturday drew in 700 runners, walkers and families members. The group was able to raise more than $10,000.
Behind the survivor's table, where Kodet sat, was a canvas that was available for people to record their personal expressions by attaching a photo, writing a message in memory of a loved one, celebrating one's own victory or signing one's name in support of a cure. This 'Reflections in Pink' canvas will be displayed at the JCPenney store in Brainerd all week.
Besides volunteering for the Race for the Cure, Kodet also works with Reach for Recovery, a program which gives information to women who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
"If I can help anybody, help ease their fears, I can do that," said Kodet. "I've had it all."
Kodet commented that breast cancer does not run in her family. After she was diagnosed, her five sisters immediately got checked, all were negative. It is a disease that can attack anyone.
When asked how she remained so strong during her recovery, Kodet said, "You have to fight hard. You can't feel sorry for yourself. Your body realizes that you're doing this and helps you too."
(For race results, see the Scoreboard in Wednesday's Sports)
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