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Three survivors making strides towards cure

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Breast cancer messed with the wrong women. When friends Robin Jones-Doak, Jeana Quintana-Jones and Lisa Webb were diagnosed, one after the other, these driven businesswomen not only beat the fearsome disease, they vowed to hunt it down and kill it.

Calling themselves Team Tatas, the three survivors represent one of the dozens of teams from southern Denton County walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure next month.

You may have seen the pink-clad women walking for miles through Flower Mound, Highland Village and Double Oak. They’ve been training since March, through the hottest summer on record, to ensure they can finish the 60-mile walk.

“The walk is a way for cancer survivors to get together and do the ‘thank God we’re alive’ thing. It’s a big emotional confab,” said Ms. Jones-Doak, an entertainment executive and consultant who was diagnosed in September 2007.

Her friend Ms. Webb, an HR consultant, was diagnosed in October 2008. Their friend Ms. Quintana-Jones, CFO of an aircraft engine company, was diagnosed in November 2009. All three are in remission.

“In my small group of friends, three of us got breast cancer within three years,” Ms. Jones-Doak said. That’s when they decided to fight back.

Leading up to the walk, Team Tatas has been holding fund-raisers at local eateries including IHOP, Baskin-Robbins and Cristina’s. The next event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at Z Grill on 1171 in Flower Mound, featuring legendary D-FW dance band The Pit Pops, with Robin’s husband, Stubie Doak of WBAP radio, on drums.

“This will be a very family-friendly event, with hula hoop contests and door prizes,” she said. “We’re also encouraging survivors to come to celebrate survival and register for a drawing for a $295 Starhaven breast cancer tribute bracelet.”

Team Tatas has raised more than $12,000 for breast cancer research, and they’re not backing off their goal of $50,000, despite the tough economy.

In last year’s 3-Day, 2,750 walkers raised $7 million, and organizers hope to exceed those numbers this year.

The walk represents not just a fund-raising opportunity, but a chance for survivors to set a physical goal against a disease that kills nearly half a million people a year worldwide.

“When you go to these events, you realize you’re not alone,” said Ms. Jones-Doak. “Cancer never goes away, it can come back at any second. That big convergence of people helps you fight the fight.”

To steel themselves for the event, Team Tatas has walked more than 500 miles, often starting at 5 a.m. to beat the heat. They walk with determination and, like all survivors, take control of their tormentor with wry conversation and raw language: Yes, they walk three abreast. The donation buckets at their fund-raising events are “jugs for jugs.” They joke about the comparative benefits of their reconstructive surgeries.

Most of all, they walk with the belief that no one should have to deal with the cruel and disfiguring disease of breast cancer. Ms. Jones-Doak is blunt about what drives them:

“We’re raising money because we want them to end it.”

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About The Author

Brad Barton is Chief Meteorologist for WBAP 820/570 KLIF/99.5 "The Wolf." Read his column on Denton County weather each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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