Bothell bride vows to fight breast cancer with wedding guests
By CARRIE RODRIGUEZ
Kirkland Reporter Editor
May 30, 2012 · Updated 4:49 PM
When the vows, wedding toast and dancing are over, most brides can’t wait to get on with the next ceremonial step – the honeymoon.
But Brooke Boyle has a new tradition planned for her wedding this weekend.
After she marries her long-time fiancé, Brian, on June 2 – a day before the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Seattle – she will meet with her wedding party and family the following day to participate in the annual walk to fight breast cancer.
The couple plans to get married at the Arctic Club, a historic hotel in downtown Seattle on Saturday. They will gather with their wedding guests on June 3 at the Seattle Center and walk in the co-ed 5k event together.
“I think it will be extra special because there will be all the family members there,” said 30-year-old Boyle, a Bothell native who works in digital advertising. “It will mean more because they’re making the extra effort to stay longer to participate, instead of most people just going home the next day after the wedding.”
She added that Brian’s family will participate as well. Her soon-to-be husband has walked with her in the race for the past five years.
Boyle is no stranger to breast cancer.
“My family has a huge history of breast cancer,” said Boyle. “Both of my grandmas had it, my mom had it, my mom’s sisters – all three had breast cancer.”
Boyle lost her Aunt Leesa and her mother, Kathy, to breast cancer.
“It’s kind of expected,” she says. “You know, when so many people have been diagnosed, you’re kind of like, when’s mine coming? You just assume that it’s just a lineage.”
Despite her fears, Boyle still keeps the possibility of breast cancer in check and has already had a few mammograms. She also reassures her younger sister, Korie, age 22, that breast cancer is “not a death sentence – people survive it all the time. So you just have to take the precautions necessary to make sure that you catch it early.”
Her mother, Kathy, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer after doctors found a lump in her left breast during an annual mammogram in 2001.
“I was in college at Washington State University and she just called me one day and we talked often so it wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary,” Boyle recalled. “She told me and luckily I had a good support system of friends over there. I was really upset and I really wanted to go home, but my parents wanted me to stay in school.”
Doctors treated Kathy’s breast cancer with a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Her mom, who worked as a computer lab assistant at Arrowhead Elementary in Kenmore for 13 years, lost her hair, tons of weight, her appetite and strength due to the chemotherapy.
“It was really tough,” said Boyle, wiping her tears. “We would go and do things and you could tell that she was really tired or wasn’t enjoying it like she would normally.”
Kathy was in remission for a few years, but in 2008 her breast cancer came back and spread to her major organs, including her liver. Her mother opted to quit chemotherapy in July 2009 because her breast cancer was too aggressive and the treatment wore on her body.
“It made her feet and hands really sensitive, so she couldn’t open bottles or walk very far,” said Boyle, who described Kathy as a loving mom and an art enthusiast. “Her quality of life was not at its peak and it was obvious that there was nothing they could do at that point.”
Kathy lived for five more months and her family eventually took her to hospice at Evergreen. She passed away at the age of 53 in her sleep, surrounded by her daughters and family.
Boyle has participated in the Race for the Cure since 2000, when one of her aunts was diagnosed with breast cancer. But her mother’s diagnosis really spurred her to gather her friends and family to form Team Kathy and walk in her mom’s honor. This year, she hopes to have at least 30 people on her team.
Boyle says while it is difficult that her mother will not be there to see her walk down the aisle, she is hopeful that her participation in the Race for the Cure will help to end breast cancer forever.
“It’s difficult, but I know my mom would want it. She can’t be there, but we try to fill in as much as we can,” said Boyle, who plans to go with her new husband to Paris and Barcelona for their honeymoon following the race. “I just feel like the Race for the Cure has become an annual time for us to reflect and remember how important it is too, especially because you don’t want other people to go through the same thing.”
For more information about the Race for the Cure, visit www.komenpugetsound.org.
Contact Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Rodriguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-822-9166 (ext 5050).