This weekend hundreds of area woman will join together in an effort to beat breast cancer. The annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Blair County takes place Sunday, October 7, at PNG Field.
It’s been three years since Rabbi Audrey Korotkin served as ambassador for the walk, but she’s still speaking out and walking for the cause.
“Kadima is the Hebrew word for moving forward. It’s almost like a command, like forward,” says Rabbi Audrey.
Team Kadima from Temple Beth Israel suits up every year for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks, led by Rabbi Audrey, who’s fortunate enough to still be moving forward 20 years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Looking back she says, “It’s a terrifying thing. I know my first thought was that I was going to die when I got the diagnosis.”
That came a year-and-a-half after she first discovered a lump and her doctors told her, they’d keep an eye on it and that it was nothing to worry about.
“I wasn’t satisfied with that but, I didn’t know enough at that point to advocate for myself,” she says.
When she got new insurance and new doctors, she also got a new diagnosis–stage two breast cancer. After two surgeries, a summer of chemotherapy, and weeks of daily radiation treatments, she was declared cancer free. She was also a lot wiser.
Her advice to others: “All of the exams in the doctors’ offices and all the exams the x-rays whatever treatment you’re in, whatever they’re doing, you, yourself know your body best, and you have to advocate for yourself and not be afraid to speak up.”
Still, Rabbi Audrey says she also knows that despite all of those exams and tests, breast cancer can come back. About a year ago, a scan showed a lump in the breast that had been clear.
“It’s always scary, because once you have it once, and you know what it’s like to go through that treatment, you don’t ever want to go through that again,” she says.
Fortunately , it was a benign lump that she had surgically removed…
This year, marks more than one important 20 year anniversary for Rabbi Audrey. Along with her two decades cancer free, she now has a new honor–she’s Rabbi Doctor Audrey Korotkin, having received her Ph.D.
“It’s really important that you not let cancer define who you are, and define what you can do with your life. I always say you can’t just be a survivor you have to be a thriver,” she advises.
And continue moving forward. As you might expect Rabbi Audrey says, for her, prayer, family, and community are absolutely invaluable to not just survive, but to thrive.