Patty Petrin and young woman

The Great Pink Pumpkin 5K Run/Walk returns to Moraine Park Technical College this Saturday. If you’d like to take part, click here for more information.

Through the Great Pink Pumpkin event, scholarships are awarded to students affected by breast cancer thanks to the Moraine Park Foundation.

One of these scholarship recipients is Patty Petrin of West Bend.

This is her story:

My name is Patty Petrin

img_2163-2I am a 47 year single mother with 4 wonderful children ranging in age from 23 to 16 – two boys and two girls. They are my world and why I do what I do,o r better yet, I am who I am because of them.

At the age of 32 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was in 2002.

My children at the time ranged from 8 1/2 years old to 1 1/2 years old. At the time I was still married and had plenty of family/friends for support. I was used to being the one helping everyone so it was very difficult to accept help from others.

I guess just the stubbornness coming out in me.

I felt so guilty as a mother

My treatment included multiple surgeries, lumpectomy and then a mastectomy. Our lives took a major turn at this time. I was always the crazy active mother, running around with my kids at the park, bike riding everywhere and just enjoying life to the fullest. Well, once I healed from surgery my next step was chemotherapy. I had already gather information from the Cancer Center and they informed me I was the first patient to come to them prior to them calling to set up the appointment. I was just eager and needed to know all I could about this daunting next step.

Well, to just plan out state it … Chemo was hell!

I had six rounds of chemotherapy which involved three medications to make my chemo cocktail. After the third round, which each round occurred every three weeks, my doctor informed me that after being administered the chemo, she would be admitting me directly to the hospital. Each round of chemo I became more and more ill. I felt so guilty as a mother because I was just had able to function at my previous Wonder Woman status.

After chemo came the daily radiation treatment and then the craziness as my hair began to grow back totally different from before!  In the summer of 2015, I took another huge step and had reconstructive surgery. It is a story that never seems to end.

Truly blessed

I truly feel blessed by the people that I have meet through my connections to breast cancer and hope that by sharing my story and experiences it will help others. I recently became a mentor for ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis) and learned so much and can not wait to share more in the future.

Receiving a scholarship from Moraine Park meant the world to me and was such a blessing. I currently work full time and have a student status position also, both of these jobs are in healthcare, just trying to build that resume. I have a daughter that is a sophomore in college and another daughter that is a sophomore in high school.

I am a nursing student in my first semester of core classes. So trying to juggle family, school, work and a household can take its toll financially and emotionally. So again, I’m thankful for the scholarship award. I am truly grateful.

As far as career goals, I would love to be involved in oncology, breast care or research that would help eradicate breast cancer. I am sure over the next 1 1/2 years of school I will develop many more experiences that will enhance my future as a RN.

Andrew Pantzlaff
Written by Andrew Pantzlaff
Public Relations Specialist. Lover of pizza.