Breast cancer survivor recounts uphill battle ahead of 'More Than Pink' walk in Newport Beach

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A breast cancer survivor who battled a severe diagnosis is working through the struggle by volunteering for the Susan G. Komen Orange County's fundraiser "More Than Pink" walk, which is kicking off this weekend in Newport Beach.

Volunteer Rebecca Hulquist's walk with breast cancer began on New Year's Day 15 years ago.

"I went to bed and woke up the next morning and felt what was a sizable lump," she said. "I would say it was the size of a small grape."

Hultquist, a mother of three, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer that requires the most aggressive treatment.

After a year of treatment, Hultquist's worst challenge still lay ahead after she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It hit me, it hit me like a ton of bricks," she said. "I had counseling services, but the co-pays were $100 and that soon became a burden."

A grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation helped her cover the costs. Once her mental health improved, Hultquist decided she wanted to give back.
"That's when I started volunteering and that made me feel better as well," she said.

The foundation's CEO, Megan Klink, described what doctors call breast cancer's collateral damage.

"It doesn't end just because your treatment has ended," Klink said. "And that can be everything from physical damage from chemo and the radiation, from your bones being brittle, the mental health, the depression and the trauma."

This Sunday at the "More Than Pink" Walk at the Newport Fashion Island, Komen O.C. is taking a step beyond breast cancer awareness. The goal is to be with a woman on her entire journey from research all the way to action because breast cancer is more than just pink, officials said.

"Awareness is important but action is what saves lives," Klink said.

Komen O.C.'s new rainbow banner represents the organization's goal to meet each woman where they're at in their journey and to make sure they get the support they need.

"It's always been an exciting part of our lives to be here and be part of what we're doing, especially being part of the walk," Hultquist said.
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