Janeen Parave, 45, of Marina Del Rey, Calif. is a two-time cancer survivor who says having breast cancer saved her life. She was diagnosed in January 2012 after finding a lump. Then, one week prior to the start of her chemotherapy treatments she was told she also had ovarian cancer.
Had doctors not ran the preliminary tests before chemo, they would not have found the ovarian cancer, which is referred to as the silent killer, as signs often appear after it is too late to save the patient. Thanks to early detection, Parave’s ovarian cancer was caught in an initial stage and was removed by surgery. No further treatment for this cancer was required.
Parave endured eight rounds of chemotherapy and seven weeks of radiation treatments. She had a double mastectomy and she underwent a hysterectomy. By the end of 2012, she achieved remission.
Parave is one of the lucky ones. She is now determined to “ride it forward” by cycling 190 miles in the Pan-Mass Challenge this August to raise money for current and future cancer patients.
According to the American Cancer Society’s 2013 annual report, more than 232,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and approximately 17 percent of those women succumbed to the disease. More alarmingly, in 2013 more than 22,000 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and an estimated 63 percent of those women lost their lives to the disease.
“Cancer completely turned my world upside down,” says Parave, who summers on Nantucket, Mass. and works as an esthetician. “I had a lot of complications and infections from my surgeries. I couldn’t work throughout my chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Thanks to early detection, I am alive and I am so grateful for each and every day that I have now. I cannot stress enough how important it is for women to go for their annual check-ups. Had my ovarian cancer not been found when it was, I would not be here today.”
On August 2 and 3, 2014, Parave will ride in her second Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), an annual bike-a-thon that raises money to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The PMC is a fully-supported bike-a-thon that takes cyclists through 46 cities and towns across the Commonwealth.
In 2014, more than 5,800 cyclists, representing 34 states and nine countries, will ride to raise $40 million bringing the PMC’s 35-year Jimmy Fund contribution to $454 million. One hundred percent of every rider-raised dollar goes directly to the Jimmy Fund. In 2013, the PMC generated more than half of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue. It is Dana-Farber’s single largest contributor.
“For years, I financially supported my friends who participated in the PMC,” says Parave. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ride nearly 200 miles as a healthy person, let alone the year I battled cancer! I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and support of my team.”
For more information about the 35th annual Pan-Mass Challenge, which is set for Aug. 2 and 3, or to support Janeen Parave or another PMC cyclist, visit: www.pmc.org.