Episode 167

Breast Cancer Conversations, Live from Nice Winery

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What you’re about to hear is a series of mini-episodes recorded during a fundraising event at Nice Winery. We spoke with past patients, survivors, and supporters. They all bring their individual stories but they all have one thing in common: their undying support for The Rose’s mission.

First up is Mike Giordanelli, whose wife is a twenty-seven year breast cancer survivor. He’s got a unique perspective about breast cancer from a spouses point of view. 

We thank Mike and his family for their continued advocacy. They play tennis with Claire Goosey and you can refer back to episode fifty-seven to learn more about Claire’s organization Serve Up for the Cure.

After Mike is Jessica Sebesta.

Whether you’re a corporate executive or small business owner, joining The Rose’s mission is easier than ever.

We then move on to Lenora Farinola. During this short conversation, she details her journey as a mother whose two daughters were diagnosed with breast cancer within six months.

You’ll what kept her strong, and you’ll hear her advice for those with kids fighting this disease.

To learn more about Lenora’s daughters’ struggles with breast cancer, go back to episode twenty-six featuring Claudia Farinola.

And finally, we talk with Alexis Rogers. During this conversation, she discusses the Emma Jacobs Foundation’s relationship with The Rose, as well as the importance of supporting children whose parents are fighting breast cancer.

Thank you to Nice Winery for hosting this and so many fundraising events through the years. Learn more about founder Ryan Levy and their series of charity wines, including the Nice Rose, which benefits The Rose, during episode one-thirty-one.

As we head into the season of giving, we ask that you consider making a donation to support our mission. No amount is too small and every dollar counts toward the fight against breast cancer.

Help support The Rose’s mission by sharing this episode with family and friends, and by making a donation at TheRose.org


Dorothy: [00:00:00] What you’re about to hear is a series of many episodes recorded during a fundraising event at Nice Winery. We spoke with past patients, survivors, and supporters. And they all bring their individual stories, but they all have one thing in common. Their undying support for the Rose’s mission.

Let’s talk about your breast. A different kind of podcast presented to you by the Rose. Breast Center of Excellence and a Texas treasure.

You’re going to hear frank discussions about tough topics, and you’re going to learn why knowing about your breast could save your life. Join us as we hear another story, and we answer those tough questions that you may have.

Mike: My name is Mike [00:01:00] Giordanelli uh, my wife Barbara is a 27 year breast cancer survivor. You know, when she was first diagnosed, uh, you know, we went, we went through it together. But as a man, there are just some things that you can’t help her with, right? And the Rose provided her with a community of people who had been through this before, and resources and other things that were super helpful, or things that I couldn’t give to her.

We have been a supporter ever since everything we can do to help support them. She’s like I said, 27 years, she still is involved with the rose. If she goes to events with the rose, um, it’s just a great organization.

Dorothy: Mike, What would be your advice for spouses who are enduring this battle with their loved one?

Mike: It’s a tough time, but I will say that it was also, for us, one of the most, uh, kind of intimate times of our life. Uh, we had a lot of great conversations about life and about things. And so, I, I would say, [00:02:00] one, be there for them as much as possible. You know, I went to as many of her doctor’s appointments, uh, as I could.

I went to her chemo treatments. Two, everything that I, that I could to be there for her. And we had two young kids at the time, so we got a lot of help. But, you know, it was, uh, it was a lot for me, too. But, you know, do it happily. Right. Because the alternative is not good.

Dorothy: We thank Mike and his family for their continued advocacy.

They play tennis with Claire Goosey, and you can refer back to episode 57 to learn more about Claire’s organization and how Serve Up a Cure helps the Rose. Our next guest is Jessica Sebesta, who is here as a supporter, friend of the Rose, and also one of our best champions.

Jessica: Hi, I’m Jessica Sebesta, and I actually know Dorothy and Shannon with The Rose from an organization that they are a part of, that I was president of, called EWI, Executive Women’s International, based, [00:03:00] uh, chapter based in Houston.

They do such great work, uh, that we supported them through that organization, and just I just felt like, you know, we would support them and that in their endeavors, but also they were supporting in women’s organizations. It was a really huge collaboration that benefited not just women, but overall the entire community of Houston for all good things.

Dorothy: What about the woman’s breast cancer journey? Did you learn that you had not known before?

Jessica: As many people that don’t have access to good, um, health services to benefit from just getting a normal annual check, uh, it’s really unimaginable that someone might have an issue, might have history of something and not be able to have the funds or the means or even the knowledge of knowing that they can go somewhere that’s a safe space, that they, um, are welcome without any kind of hindrance or neglect no matter what [00:04:00] their race is, financial ability is, that they have an opportunity to be able to check themselves and hopefully be okay at the end of the day.

But also if they’re not have access to support, but also, um, The services that are provided when they are diagnosed with something that is unfortunate.

Dorothy: What would be your advice for professionals who want to help an organization like The Rose raise money?

Jessica: So, it’s always great to support local, a local organization that benefits.

It’s not just the community, but the entire country, because it’s like a trickle effect. When one organization does something amazing, other organizations want to follow, and they want to be successful, and then everyone benefits. Not just the organization itself, but the people that it helps. And that’s really what’s most important, is love for all, and just being helpful and kind to everyone around you, and being positive, because positivity and love, um, [00:05:00] And I think that’s what’s most important when people are out there to do good things and just show love and positivity because it goes a long way.

Dorothy: Whether you’re a corporate executive or a small business owner, joining the Roses mission is easier than ever. Head to the rose. org to find out how our next guest is Lenora Farinola and she is really the reason that Claudia knew anything about The Rose.

Lenora: My name is Lenora Farinola and I have been a fan of the rose for many years because my husband and I were, uh, had a business.

And, uh, we had a large deductible and I found out that The Rose, you could go pay cash and get a big reduction. And I was really thrilled to find them. And so I have never stopped giving because I remember what it was like, you know, to afford a 400 or [00:06:00] 500. Um, you know, mammogram as to in those days. I don’t know.

Now it was about 100. So thank you, Rose.

Dorothy: We’ve heard the perspective from Children, spouses of those who have breast cancer, but not from a mother’s point of view. What can you tell us? It would shed some insight. about what you had to do to help your daughter endure this disease.

Lenora: Well, it started with her sister, uh, you know, six months before.

And we, uh, Claudia was very good with her sister, nursed her through. We both nursed her through. And then my husband and I left for a few weeks to go to Italy. And I had a phone call. And Claudia said, Mom, I have breast cancer. I said, No. It can’t be. It really, you know, shook me up. I just could not believe that would be possible within months.

But, [00:07:00] uh, so we came back and Claudia is a very brave lady, both of the girls. But with the first daughter, it just, um, hits you in the stomach, you know? And, uh, I remember I grabbed my husband once and I said, You know. I’m afraid. I’m scared. And then, you know, we got Tina through it. But when I got the news of the second daughter, it was like living it all over.

No, it’s hard. It’s your child. It’s, you know, so we’re fortunate that things, you know, went well, but it is hard. It’s really hard to go through.

Dorothy: And what kept you strong through all this time?

Lenora: What kept me strong is that I tried to go with them on every appointment. I did a lot of research. I believed eventually in the [00:08:00] Doctors and the course that we were taking.

So I tried to be there and, uh, you know, just read as much as you can know what you’re going to face. I went with the girls, you know, on every visit with the doctor, every minute of the way with Claudia, every chemotherapy, I was in the room and, uh, you know, you have, it helps to have another person, another set of ears.

to hear what they’re talking about, and they need you. They need you. I mean, you just can’t, uh, cry. You have to be, you know, active as much as you can. You cry at night whenever you can. But, no, they need you.

Dorothy: To learn about Lenora’s daughter’s struggle with breast cancer, go back to my conversation with Claudia during episode 26.

I’m so happy to have Alexis Rogers with us, [00:09:00] and she’s going to talk about the Emma Jacobs Breast Cancer Foundation. and why it is so important for people to understand the significance of breast cancer.

Alexis: I’ve been a member of that foundation for about five or six years. I was supporting it for 30 years because Emma Jacobs, the founder of the foundation, is a very dear friend of mine and I live.

through her journey, through her breast cancer, helping her with her son. Fortunately, both of our sons are now like 29 years old and we’re thankful that everybody survived. Everybody’s doing a great job. Fast forward, the Titts Foundation started to work in junction with the Rose. My company, actually, I am one of the owners of Richard Wayne and Roberts.

We’re an executive search firm here in the Houston area where I’ve been a partner for 39 years. And we’ve actually recruited and placed people, um, in business. with [00:10:00] The Rose and through that journey and the connection with the two, I have met many, many women and men, uh, with breast cancer and their spouses and the journey that they’ve gone through and their friends.

Like I was back in the journey with Emma, taking care of her son, taking him back and forth to school, and trying to do whatever I could to help back in that day. I think what happens with breast cancer and any kind of illness, I don’t think people understand the involvement that it takes. It takes a village, as we always say, but it also takes the involvement of the spouse, the families, the friends.

Everybody’s affected by this, and especially the children. The children are majorly affected, and I live that with Emma.

Dorothy: This is something that we haven’t talked about yet on this podcast. You’re talking [00:11:00] about the perspective of a friend. who is helping her friend by taking care of her kids. That seems to be an area that’s totally overlooked.

Alexis: It’s often overlooked and I don’t think, you know, insurance doesn’t cover it. You know, I mean, I’ve taken care of elderly, my mother, my aunt, I’ve taken care of them. I didn’t get any support yet. I kept working. Um, back in the day, this has been almost 30 years ago. I was taking care of Jacob with my kids and that poor child.

I mean, how do you counsel a baby? I mean, he went a baby. He was, he was like seven years old going to first grade and we were trying to counsel him on how his mom was doing and he was scared to death. His mom was going to die and um, would throw up and um, you just held him and tried to comfort him and make sure he understood that mom’s going to be okay [00:12:00] and we’re going to do everything in our power to make her okay.

Um, she had a wonderful husband, Patrick, who helped every day through that journey with that child. And, um, we were blessed. We had so many friends that also came in and helped, but a lot of people don’t have that.

Dorothy: All right. So let’s say You’ve got somebody who’s a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

They’ve got two little bitties there, like seven and eight years old. What is something that you would advise them to do, to say, to not do, or to not say?

Alexis: I think there’s nothing that’s a bad thing to say. I think we worry so much about what not to say, and we shut our pie hole. And I think that we have to just apologize if we offend.

And I think we have to… Step in and we have to make food for them. Be there, hug them, be a part of their lives, be a part of the kids lives. You know, Emma has a [00:13:00] great story and I’m sure she’s probably told this on the podcast, but she has a God child. Now, Sam Minetti, who when he was a little boy, his mom died of breast cancer and there were all these kids.

And so his mother took time to make sure that each one of her best friends had an individual that was a sign to that child and Emma was assigned, assigned to Sam and somebody else was assigned to the sister and somebody else was assigned to the brother. So when she died, she knew that these kids were going to have this support system and I got chills again because I didn’t tell you to this day.

I was recently, um, visiting Emma and Patrick and Sam and Eddie and his girlfriend live up in New York and they come and that. He could be her son because she made that promise to that young [00:14:00] lady when she was passing away. So she got it because she went through it. And, um, I think watching all of that has changed my life and it’s made me very supportive of this program, the Rose.

And I just think that everybody needs to know about breast cancer and what it’s affecting.

Dorothy: That wraps up this mash up episode. Thank you to Nice Winery for hosting this and for so many fundraising events through the years. Learn more about founder Ryan Levy and their series of charity wines, including the Nice Rosé, which benefits the Rose, during episode 31.

As we head into the season of giving, we ask that you consider making a donation to support our mission. No amount is too small, and every dollar counts towards the fight against breast cancer.

Post Credits: Thank you for [00:15:00] joining us today on Let’s Talk About Your Breasts. This podcast is produced by Speak Podcasting and brought to you by The Rose. Visit therose.org to learn more about our organization, subscribe to our podcast, share episodes with friends, and join the conversation on social media using hashtag Let’s Talk About Your Breasts.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Consider supporting The Rose. Your gift can make the difference to a person in need. And remember, self care is not selfish. It’s essential.

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