In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Summit Sotheby’s International Realty is proud to highlight the stories of Laurie Wing and Kathie Marriott-Manangan, two incredible REALTORS® and breast cancer survivors.
Kathie Manangan wasn't worried when she lay down for her regularly scheduled mammogram. Six months before, in 2012, she was diagnosed with Lymphoma Leukemia and judged to be in remission. She got the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“One of the hardest things was telling my children I was sick again. I will never forget that day,” said Manangan, mother of two children and four stepchildren.
In her personal life she thanks her husband, Nick, a radiologist, saying, “Without his knowledge I would have been lost.”
In addition, her “soul sister” Marny Schlopy walked every part of the journey with her children and husband.
“You all kept in me the fight during the toughest time of my life,” she said of her family, friends and co-workers.
Manangan initially feared returning to her real estate career of over 20 years. However, she found encouragement and support in daily phone calls from Thomas Wright, owner and broker at SSIR.
“Thomas placed a pink light bulb in my office that was turned on everyday till my return,” said Manangan.
Manangan says her co-workers gave her the extra push she needed to be brave in the form phone calls, emails, cards, flowers, blankets, care packages, food, pajamas, and visits.
“It’s a rough journey through surgeries, chemotherapy and drug therapy but every hug smile or kind word had a tremendous impact on my quest to fight this battle,” she said.
Today, Manangan is cancer-free, though she is required to take estrogen-blocking treatments administered every three weeks for the next year as a preventative measure against the estrogen-driven cancer.
Manangan has found another partner in the fight against breast cancer, Laurie Wing.
Wing says, “Kathie has been one of my greatest supporters. She has been going through breast cancer treatment at the same time as me and has given me wonderful advice and encouragement.
Wing was diagnosed with breast cancer last March, the week of her 50th birthday. “What a gift!” Wing jokes.
A family history of cancer encouraged Laurie Wing to be vigilant with her mammograms. When they found a lump in her right breast she had a terrible feeling in her gut, “I would have to wait two weeks for the results from the biopsy and eventually learned that the tumor was malignant.”
Wing eventually opted to have a bilateral mastectomy, but says, “The most challenging part of the entire journey is that every component of treatment is entirely the patient's choice.”
During the surgery it was discovered the cancer had spread to her lymphatic system and they removed six lymph nodes as a result. At the same time, Wing found out she had lobular carcinoma in situ in her left breast which would've likely mutated into cancer in 2-3 years if not removed.
“I underwent 12 weeks of chemotherapy and I’m finally finished with 30 radiation treatments. I will have my final reconstruction surgery in February of 2015,” says Wing.
Wing gives special recognition to her four amazing sons who have showed incredible support around-the-clock, and her business partner David Dowie, “David has been my rock and an incredible support to me. He has been at my side every step of the way and kept my spirits up despite my bald head, chemo blahs and radiation burns.”
“My co-workers and support staff at Summit Sotheby's International Realty have been amazing and my network of friends and family has carried me through this tough time,” said Wing. “I am a very lucky girl to be surrounded with love and true support.”
Wing says, “October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Schedule your mammogram and yearly physical now, and take the best care of your body that you can… you never know when you will need to be a warrior!"
To people struggling with breast cancer currently Manangan says, “You are stronger than you think… It gets easier and after this, there’s nothing you can’t do!”
Both Manangan and Wing were treated at The Huntsman Cancer institute and would like to recognize their staff for the excellent care and support they received. To make a donation to the Huntsman Cancer Institute visit: http://bit.ly/1oaCH62.