RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Next Saturday, thousands will lace up sneakers and head to Brown's Island to participate in this year's Komen Race for the Cure.
As always, you'll see some familiar NBC12 faces, helping to raise breast cancer awareness. This year, Susan Bahorich joins the Pink Peacocks team.
She says she wants to raise awareness of not only breast cancer, but all cancers, because she knows a thing or two about fighting cancer and winning the battle.
You see her every day on NBC12, either out reporting on Chesterfield County, or inside the studio anchoring from the desk.
She is fairly new to Richmond, but certainly not new to journalism. Her career technically began years ago in fourth grade at her school in Westminster, MD.
"I remember speaking on the PA every Thursday morning to the school and telling them about what's going on and naming the kid who had the best pep in the school or something like that," said Bahorich.
The little girl with the big dimples and curly hair eventually grew up and continued to broadcast the latest community stories, but this time, on television in Harrisonburg, as well as in Roanoke.
It was in Roanoke where her personal life story changed after a routine visit to her doctor in December 2012.
"During one of those checkups, the doctor said hey, we found that you had fibroids. Once again, a common condition in women, but she said this fibroid is the size of a tennis ball, and I think you should get it removed," said Bahorich.
Susan had endometriosis, and already knew about a cyst on her left ovary. It had never given her any major problems, so she figured this fibroid removal would not either.
A week after the surgery, her doctor called her with unexpected results.
"Hey, we got the pathology back on your surgery. The fibroid was fine, but that cyst on your ovary? That is cancerous. When I heard 'you have cancer', I said what? But I don't smoke. I go to the gym. I run. I thought, this can't be happening to me,"she said.
But it was, even though she did not have a family history of cancer, did not show any symptoms, and did not have the genetic markers for it.
However, before she could begin any type of treatment or undergo surgery, her doctor dropped even more news on her.
"You could have breast cancer. And you know, I had just gotten myself to the point where I was ready to tackle ovarian cancer and I can do this, and I can do this and it is early and we're just going to knock this out, and I thought oh my gosh, I have another cancer? I could have another cancer?" said Bahorich.
In some cases, breast cancer increases the risk for ovarian cancer.
Fortunately, her mammogram revealed she did not have breast cancer. So, she underwent surgery in January of 2013, having her left ovary removed.
She also had her eggs harvested, to give her the option of having children one day.
Soon after, she began chemotherapy. "I wound up having a port put in, which is a way for you to get chemo," said Bahorich.
The treatment took out her hair, but it did not take away her drive to continue reporting and anchoring on television.
She wore a wig most of the time.
"It got to the point though that it was going on through summer, and that wig was hot. So, eventually, I started wearing a little hat," said Bahorich.
She wore that same "Fight like a Girl" hat in June of 2013, when she rang the hospital bell, letting people know that she had finished chemo treatments and was cancer free.
"I rang it like it was going to tear off the wall, so I mean it was a really happy moment," said Bahorich.
Today, Bahorich says she wants everyone who battles any type of cancer to experience the happy moment of being cancer-free as part of their personal story, which is why she plans to participate in the Susan G. Komen race for the Cure on May 9.
"If I can be out there and raise a little awareness and bring a little attention to it, it's the least I can do," she said.
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