SCRANTON – The streets were awash in a sea of pink for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Saturday. Roughly 10,000 people of all ages and abilities were expected for the 5K run/walk event that traversed through the downtown. Bagpipes played as the participants crossed the starting line under a huge pink and white balloon arch on Wyoming Avenue.
Sporting a pink head wrap and feather boa, three-time survivor, Danielle Cavanaugh, 42, of Mountain Top was geared up for the event. Cavanaugh was one of the 176 members of The Ice House Pub Team – the largest team in the event. Although the team's sponsor is located in Mountain Top, many of the members reside in other parts of Luzerne County. Other cancer survivors on the team included Chris Ostroski and Kathy Bufalino, both of Shavertown; Lael Swank and Joanne Jones, both of Mountaintop; Kellie Kizis of Exeter and Mary Ann Jarolen of Nanticoke.
With the word "survivor" stamped on her right cheek and a pink ribbon tattoo on her left, Cavanaugh and her husband, Tom, also 42, talked about her 18-year battle. When she was 24 and the couple had been married only six months, Cavanaugh was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, the cancer went into remission. Four years later, Cavanaugh gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Morgan. The second blow came three years later, but Cavanaugh kept fighting. During a period of remission from that diagnosis, Cavanaugh gave birth to a second daughter, Jaclyn.
When she was 37, Cavanaugh was told that the cancer had come back and metastasized to her liver. "I feel OK," said Cavanaugh, adding that she is participating in a clinical trial with a chemo drug tailored specifically for her.
It's that easygoing attitude that makes friends and family comfortable talking about her condition, said Tom. "There's no sense in dwelling on something you can't control," he said.