The Bernstein family (see Michelle's story above) is very involved in the March of Dimes. Their family team, Team Believe, walks in memory of Riley who would have been 5 this year, in the annual March of Dimes North Suburban March for Babies in Arlington Heights. They have raised more than $24,000 so far. Even though this year's has passed, fundraising continues. To help, click here.
Celeste Wang noticed a lump in her left breast while she was applying sunscreen. Within days of the discovery, she met with a series of doctors, all of whom told her that since she was so young-Wang was 38 at the time-she probably was feeling her breast bone or rib.
After she demanded an ultrasound, breast cancer was confirmed.
"When people say they are having a bad day, I always think of that day, and I just laugh," Wang says. "Emotionally crippled, lying down next to the phone, waiting for confirmation of cancer or no cancer is a bad day. Traffic is nothing."
Surgery was scheduled immediately, with chemotherapy to follow.
And while Wang and her husband desperately wanted to have a child, her doctors told her she needed to start a regimen of Tamoxifen, which is used to treat early and advanced breast cancer. It would need to be taken for no less than five years, and women on the drug are advised to avoid pregnancy because it could cause harm to the fetus.
"My fertility was an aspect of cancer I hadn't considered until this point," she says. "Not only did I have to fight my cancer, I had to fight to maintain and preserve my fertility, too. My husband and I discussed the possibility that we might not ever be able to have kids, and we began to accept that fact."
But it was just too much for Wang, who ultimately decided to delay taking her medications and became pregnant. She was high-risk in the eyes of her doctors but had a flawless pregnancy.
"My body protected and enveloped my son, who was strong from the very beginning and right on target," she says.
Alexander, nicknamed Tiger, just turned 1, and Wang's cancer is in remission. Mother and baby are strong and happy.
"In hindsight, I see this as a gift that made me stronger than I was before," she says. "I have more definition to my person; my ingredients are more enhanced."