ORANGE PARK – Rashanda Mack remembers the pain, rolling onto her side while she was sleeping and feeling the shooting pain.
“It was excruciating pain,” said Mack.
She had felt the lump on her breast but hadn’t really been too worried about what it might be until the pain seemed it would not go away. This caused her to become alarmed and decided to get it checked.
When she went in to her doctor to get the diagnosis, she had a feeling that all would be well and her doctor was attending to another patient so she thought that she was in the clear.
This lump would turn out to be stage 3 in situ carcinoma, which according to the website cancer.gov, is a group of abnormal cells that remain in the place where they first formed and have not spread. The abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Mack said she can remember vividly being told her diagnosis but remembers nothing after that moment.
She said her thoughts rushed through her life and everything up until that and she believed that at any moment she would be gone. Until someone reached out to her who wasn’t in her life much, her father.
Her father told her something that resonated with her and was one of the driving forces that helped her remain positive.
“He said that ‘Everytime we hear the word cancer, we think death’,” said Mack “‘Every sickness is not until death.’”
Now 6 years later, the Orange Park resident is cancer free and is doing what she can to help those who have gone through it or are now going through the stages of cancer treatment. She is helping to promote the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Clay County that is scheduled for Oct. 13 at Moosehaven at 1701 Park Ave. in Orange Park.
She has also started her own personal project in which she brought out several survivors and had a day of pampering for them and had a photo shoot. She will also makes care packages for people who are undergoing cancer treatments.
She wants to encourage people and advocate for diseases that do not get nearly as much attention such as male breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be an estimated 2,550 new cases of breast cancer in men in the U.S. in 2018.
Mack said she believes most men don’t even realize that they can get breast cancer.
“They probably have a sense of shame,” said Mack. She wants men to realize that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and wants others to be aware and take care of themselves.
If you would like to sign up for the Making Strides of Clay County or donate you can do so here.
It’s not too late to start a team for the walk either. For more information about Making Strides Clay, call Jaclyn Rodriguez at (904) 391-3627 or email ClayCountyFLStrides@gmail.com.