For the month of October, social media followers of Milestone Construction, US Aggregates and Asphalt Materials, Inc., will notice a difference. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, these members of the Heritage family of companies have gone pink for breast cancer. For the individuals behind the campaign, though, awareness of breast cancer’s impact isn’t confined to just one month.
Heritage Construction + Materials (HC+M) has been raising awareness about breast cancer for years. The aim of the annual campaign is to promote increased screening and early detection—the best ways to mitigate a cancer diagnosis. According to Cancer.net, an estimated 333,490 people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, including members of the Heritage family. Three Heritage employees who have been affected by breast cancer share their stories:
Katrina LiMandri, Director of Marketing at Asphalt Materials, Inc.
“My mom is my best friend, the eldest of her sisters, and a pillar that holds up our big Italian family. When the Big C diagnosis came for my mom a few years back, it was really scary for all of us. She was told by a doctor that she wasn’t old enough to get tested, but she knew in her gut that there was something wrong. She advocated for herself and got a second opinion. Luckily, we were able to catch it before it became much worse. After the cancer was removed, we’ve been blessed so far that it hasn’t returned.
“Breast cancer has affected my family pretty heavily. Not only is my mom a survivor, but just last year my aunt found out she had breast cancer and needed a double mastectomy. Because it runs in my family now, they all make sure to go get a mammogram every year and advocate for their health.
“I’m proud to be inspired and influenced by the strong women in my family. I encourage others to get tested regularly. You don’t need to have symptoms, or have it run in your family to get breast cancer.”
Kierstin Janik, Chief Talent Officer at HC+M
“My mom has been fighting breast cancer for 15-16 months now. It’s a tough battle physically and mentally – COVID concerns, social restrictions and challenges within the medical field related to COVID have made it even more difficult!
“My mom was diagnosed with cancer in June 2020 after she felt a lump bothering her while doing some work in the yard. She has completed three different chemo treatments (A, C and T chemo rounds) plus surgery and radiation since then. Unfortunately, at what was to be her last appointment in March, she was delivered some gut punching news – she needed more treatments. She’s completed 8 of 14 treatment rounds since then and is hoping to be not only done with treatments by early next year, but to be cancer free!”
“[My mom is] a tough lady and has kept a positive attitude through it all. She’s been my role model my entire life and I am amazed at how she’s handled this challenging situation.”
Kathy Rice, Compliance Specialist, HC+M
“When I found out I had cancer, the oncologist said that five years before my diagnosis, I would have had a 50/50 chance. With the progress the cure made in a matter of a few years, the survival rate was 85%. I fought like mad with a positive attitude and faith in God. The large tumor disappeared during the first 12 weeks of chemo, which was kind of a miracle, so prayers work. I still had smaller tumors and needed the surgery anyway.
“I still remember the oncologist surgeon really skipping down the hall after giving me the good news after surgery: nothing spread and I wasn’t in remission, but cancer free. God blessed the doctor with positive news as it has to be hard to deal with cancer patients who may not have the outcome I had. I was an unusual case, they said. I’m now four years cancer free. God still wants me to do more work on Earth. I figure one reason is to bug and hug my grandsons!
“I’m thankful that Heritage is scheduling the St. Vincent mobile unit for mammograms. It’s convenient for employees—in and out quick. That’s how I found out in 2016. I would have gone anyway at the St. Vincent Breast Center but to have the mobile unit at the Wellness Center just made it so easy. Employees should take advantage when the opportunity is there!”
“I wear the US Aggregates breast cancer t-shirt to fight for the cure given to me. The cure for breast cancer has made leaps and bounds over the years.”
What can you do to lower your risk factors?
- Limit your alcohol use. Try to have fewer than 3-4 drinks each week.
- Exercise moderately for 3-4 hours each week. Moderate exercise is anything that gets your heart rate up to 50-60% higher than its resting rate.
- Avoid hormone replacement therapy after menopause.
- If you are pregnant and able, choose to breastfeed.
- Regular mammograms help doctors find breast cancer early—sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
Employees participating in a Heritage health insurance plan can access regular free mammograms, which are key to early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Keep an eye on your inbox for messages from our HR Benefits team on upcoming wellness programs.