By Naeisha Rose
Jackson Heights resident Evelyn Gomez will celebrate her seventh anniversary of being free from breast cancer by running her fifth 5K marathon at Yankee Stadium April 15.
In 2010, she discovered a lump on her breast while she was pregnant with her first-born and three months after giving birth, she was officially diagnosed — after turning 37 — with Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer, which is a non-hormonal form of breast cancer, according to nationalbreastcancer.org.
Gomez worked full-time at a law firm while taking care of her son Aiden and fighting breast cancer.
She had chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy and then radiation.
Out of fear of not keeping down her meals, she would bring two lunches to work to stay full.
“It’s hard to describe the feelings something like that brings out,” said Gomez about her experience.
Gomez credits her survival to a Canadian double-blind clinical trial consisting of the drug Metformin, which is an anti-Diabetic medication.
“I count my blessings everyday that I am a survivor,” Gomez said. “Especially considering the fact that the kind of breast cancer I was diagnosed with was very aggressive, with a high rate of recurrence. In addition to that was the fact that I was a first time mom.”
After beating cancer, Gomez looked into many charity events to help fund breast cancer research and stumbled upon a poster for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s Annual 5K at Yankee Stadium.
“Early on I was terrified every minute of the day that the cancer might come back. Now, I’m comfortable with the fear. It’s just a part of life. And doing things like the Damon Runyon 5K helps me feel like maybe I can turn some of that fear back at cancer,” said Gomez.
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation funds cancer research and researchers and 100 percent of any proceeds to the foundation will go to cancer research, according to the organization.
Gomez, a Manhattan transplant who moved to Jackson Heights eight years ago, is also a huge Yankees fan, so running the 5K was a no-brainer.
To train for the 5K, she runs six months out of the year and gradually increases her distance around the two-acre Travers Park in Jackson Heights and her neighborhood.
“I compare raising money to help the bright young scientists that Damon Runyon funds to tying up my steel-toe combat boots and getting ready to kick some cancer butt. And every year, for as long as I can, I’ll keep lacing ‘em up.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose