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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a time for us to promote breast cancer awareness, share information and help all women have access to screening services.  Recently, I was surprised to find out that someone I have known for quite a while had breast cancer.  While I had not seen Diana Albritton in years, I was amazed to hear her story and how she won the battle against breast cancer.  Today, Diana is thriving and going above and beyond to make sure women in a somewhat isolated area in Central Florida expand and strengthen their bonds of sisterhood for both personal and professional growth.  Through Lunch Club Wednesday, which Diana formed in 2006, she helps more than 300 women network with each other and connect spiritually and socially.  In honor of this special month, I'd like to share the story of one very special lady.

Q: Tell us about your first experience with cancer and your diagnosis.
I was attending a week long business meeting in Las Vegas when I complimented another woman on her beaded key chain.  She said the beads were the smallest size of a breast cancer lump.  When I returned home, I thought about that key chain that left a visual in mind and did a self exam.  That's when I discovered my lump.  When I went to see my doctor for a mammogram, the doctor recommended I have a biopsy that day because the lump looked suspicious.  That began my experience with breast cancer that involved six surgeries, a round of chemotherapy, lymphodemia diagnosis and eventually a full mastectomy, which left me on disability for two years.  That woman with the beaded key chain is my lifesaver.  

Q: How did you feel and what were your thoughts during your treatments?
My life had been perfect and then it suddenly changed.  Besides the pain I had to deal with, my arm gave me a sense of balance and I had to re-train myself to walk due to the pain.  Before, I had always loved to exercise and be very active; then I couldn't even write Christmas letters.  The best defense is knowledge, and I pulled so much information from the Internet.  Attitude is 100 percent of how you beat cancer. I saved every card received.  They were my reminder that I couldn't let my support system down.  I was 40 years old and never afraid of cancer or dying.  Lots of good things occurred during that time.  

Q:  How do you feel today?
Now, I am living the second half of my life, and I know it's important to have positive people around me.  That's why I like the Lunch Club Wednesday women.

Q: How has your experience with breast cancer helped other women?
I hope it has raised the awareness of breast cancer and encouraged other women who are diagnosed and must overcome this disease.  If I can do it, anyone can.

Q:  What was your goal when you first organized Lunch Club Wednesday (LCW)?
The first group met in January 2006 with 20 women.  Ninety percent of the women who attend LCW are active career women, while 10 percent are retired and volunteer with non-profit organizations.  LCW is not only a motivational group, but a method of networking spiritually and socially.  

Q:  How does LCW help women expand their horizons?
The meetings are filled with positive energy and information.  Everyone feels the driving energy behind the success of the club is that women share ideas and encourage others in their endeavors, which gives all women a sense of power and purpose.  A speaker generally provides an informative topic matter for the ladies to learn about.  In addition, one member is awarded the CeCe Courage Award (named after Carolyn "CeCe" Crane who inspires with her courage by attending the meetings despite her disability), which recognizes a woman who displays a tremendous amount of courage for that month.  For more details, visit  

Q:  What's next for Diana Albritton?
I want to continue to promote Lunch Club Wednesday and help women network and expand their horizons. I want to be known as a lifesaver, educator and cheerleader for as many women as I can. I want to continue to share my story about how the woman with the key chain was my lifesaver and how my negative experience has allowed me the ability to leave corporate America.
Now I own my own insurance agency and because of my experience I can help clients with solutions that others might not be able to address. Again, because of the disability it forced me to change my direction. Not only am I a business professional, but now I'm able to balance & budget time on others and help them find their purpose.
I'm currently not disabled with pain, but I hurt in my arm everyday which is a wonderful reminder of the past.  I hope others will read my story and never give up as God has a wonderful journey and purpose for each of us.  When the negative comes my way, I just say, "buckle-up as the best is yet to come."  


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