This weekend, Gilda's Club holds one of its most important fundraisers of the year, called The Heroes Ball.
"We were shocked by it and it just kind of threw us into a whirlwind," says Lisa Tydings, now a Breast Cancer survivor, referring to June of 2011 when she was first diagnosed. "It was a very surprising diagnosis for us because I have no family history."
Tydings underwent chemotheropy, two surgeries, and radiation treatment. Her husband Jeff and their four children, McKenna, Taylor, Nolan, and Brody were all impacted.
The Tydings turned to Gilda's Club when they saw their children struggling with longer than expected treatments. The kids embraced Gilda's Noogieland and enjoyed Camp Open Arms this past summer.
"I think it helped our older children realize that there were other families that were going through this and that there were other families who had gone through this years ago and were doing okay now," Tydings explains. Around that time, Tydings heard about Gilda's gang, which raises money for Gilda's club by running a half marathon. A seed was planted.
"My husband and I are not runners. We have never been runners, but I came home and said I think I want to do this half marathon," exclaims Tydings. She completed radiation treatments in April and began training with Jeff in May.
"Nobody should have to fight cancer alone and this is our way of helping give back," Jeff Tydings says. Lisa agrees.
"It's an amazing thing to be with a group of people that have really supported us to get to this point," she says.
On Sunday, the Tydings completed their goal, crossing the finish line in the Rochester Half Marathon. They say they are in a better place, both physically and emotionally, than they were a year ago, and they are grateful to the Gilda Club.
"This teaches you to slow down and really take the time to appreciate the little things and all the blessings we have in everyday life that a lot of times you just miss," Jeff Tydings says. Lisa is grateful.
"I can go there for the rest of my life, you know, I might need a support group for the rest of my life and I have the opportunity to do that, and I think that's a wonderful thing," she explains.