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Patient Stories

Kickin’ Breast Cancer

In May 2014, North Reading resident Kelly Donahue, found a lump in her breast during a self-breast exam. She immediately called her primary care physician who scheduled a mammogram at the Mass General/North Shore Breast Health Center in Danvers. The mammogram results came back unclear, which prompted her primary care physician to also order an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a mass, which was determined to be cancerous. 

Kelly (third from right) with her family at the healing garden brick dedication at the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center.

“I have no family history of breast cancer and was shocked by the news,” says the 39-year-old. “I never thought this would happen to me because I have always taken care of myself by eating well and exercising.” 

It was recommended that Donahue undergo a lumpectomy with 16-weeks of chemotherapy treatment. After considering all of her options and consulting with her physician, Donahue decided on a double mastectomy. “Being the mom of two young children I did not want to worry about a possible recurrence of breast cancer,” says Donahue. 

Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center oncologist Amy Comander, M.D., saw Donahue through her treatment. “I would go armed with a notebook filled with questions and Dr. Comander always took the time to make sure I got my answers. She would even email her colleagues to get their opinions on some of my questions and called me at home after my treatments to check on me,” says Donahue. “I definitely hit the jackpot in having Dr. Comander as my oncologist.” 

The Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center combines the expertise of Massachusetts General Hospital and North Shore Medical Center to provide the highest caliber of care in a supportive, convenient and patient-focused manner. The oncology experts at the Cancer Center offer a multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer care using the most advanced technology and latest research available. 

Nearly two years after her initial cancer diagnosis, the mom of two is back to doing all the things that she loves to do with her family. One of those things includes participating in the North Shore Cancer WALK. 

“I want to help raise money for other patients who might be battling cancer so they can receive the same excellent care that I did at North Shore Medical Center and the Mass General/North Shore Cancer Center,” says Donahue. 

Her fundraising goal for the WALK this past year was $5,000, which she far exceeded due to the generosity of family and friends, raising $10,000 for her team “Kickin’ it with Kelly.” And she’s already thinking about how she can exceed that in 2017, saying “It might be hard to beat that amount this year, but if I can beat cancer, it doesn’t seem so daunting!”