Survivors Who Inspire: Pete and Bonnie

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Pete (left) pictured with Bonnie (right) on March 12 at Cokesbury Village

Pete Quayle is 91 years old, but after a few moments together you’d believe she’s nearly half that age! She’s active and a great listener, with a heart of gold.

Pete was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago. She was no stranger to the disease, her sister had passed away from breast cancer many years earlier. Pete’s tumor showed up on a routine mammogram. It was early stage and so small that she couldn’t even feel it. When determining her course of treatment, she was told she was the “poster child” for savi, a newer, 5-day radiation using a bundle of tubes to deliver therapy from inside the breast. She went through treatment and was on the road to recovery. Just 1 month later her granddaughter was diagnosed.

Pete thinks of her breast cancer as a gift. It helped her provide understanding and support to her granddaughter, facing her own battle with the same disease. Pete then became a trained peer mentor through the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, so she could help others going through breast cancer with a similar diagnosis, treatment plan, or stage of life. She has mentored a handful of women, including Bonnie Siley.

When Bonnie was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2016 she was very surprised. She was the first in her family to have breast cancer. Her doctor gave her a few treatment options, one of which was savi. Unsure, Bonnie called the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, looking for some guidance. She was connected to a trained peer mentor, close to her age, with a similar diagnosis, and that mentor was Pete. Pete told Bonnie about her positive experience with savi and provided her with background about what to expect. Bonnie went through her treatment and nearly two years later, she is healthy and happy.

What blossomed over the course of Pete and Bonnie’s breast cancer journeys has become a real friendship. They get together for lunch throughout the year. Pete recently visited DBCC’s Great Stuff Savvy Resale for some retail therapy, where Bonnie is a loyal volunteer. These women have supported each other and today, share a vigorous bond that connects all breast cancer survivors.

Pete was recently told by her doctor she could stop getting annual mammograms but she is not interested in stopping anytime soon! Long live tenacious, kindhearted women like Pete and Bonnie. DBCC is proud to have played a small role in connecting their lives and will continue to help newly diagnosed patients so they do not have to face breast cancer alone.

If you or someone you know has been recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, visit www.debreastcancer.org or call 1-866-312-DBCC to get your peer mentor, and so much more!

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