Wife, mother and survivor joins the fight against breast cancer, trains for Avon39 Walk

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It’s a disease that affects touches almost everyone in some way.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women and here in New York City more than five-thousand are diagnosed each year.

In tonight’s Stories from the Heart, we meet one woman who shows us, it’s never too late to get involved in the fight.

Two simple reasons, Lori Whitaker is taking part in the Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer.

“I’m paying it forward by helping other people and at the same time I’m getting myself back in shape,” she said.

It was something she always wanted to do but never had the opportunity.

“I didn’t do it because I was dedicated to my kids and they played football and I had to go to their games,” she explained.

Now this year, the wife and mother of two will walk for the first time, not just as a participant but as a survivor.

“It was really a shock, I never had any abnormal mammograms and I don’t have any history in my family," Whitaker said. "So it just went from one year normal to the next year, stage two.”

After undergoing a lumpectomy and biopsy doctors told her it spread to her lymph nodes. She’d now have to undergo chemo and radiation.

“I wasn’t as positive then, when I realized I needed chemo, that was a hard pill to swallow.”

Over the next six months, Lori got tremendous support from her family, friends and community.

“I got cards on a daily basis and one friend made my family a dinner every single week,” she smiled. "There so many people who offered to take me to treatment, I used to have to schedule who would take me."

She was also determined not to miss any of her sons’ football games.

"I went to one of his games and he took his helmet off and I was pretty shocked to see this big, bushy pink beard," she laughed. "He couldn’t be home so that was his support for me."

As of March, Lori was declared cancer free. She says the disease never defined her but will always be a part of her.

“I appreciate everything a little bit more,” she said.

Now she just hopes her body is ready in time for October!

“None of us are in good shape," she laughed. "We all are trying to train for it so we hope we can make it through the 39 miles!”

Lori is back in the full swing of things, staying busy with three part-time jobs and many hobbies.

The Avon39 Walk to End Breast Cancer takes place October 15 and 16th.

For more information and how you can join the fight, click here.