When Tewksbury resident Daisy Karnell was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast cancer last year, her diagnosis changed a lot of lives.
In addition to turning her world upside down, Daisy’s diagnosis stopped many of her friends and family members in their tracks and truly made them start thinking about breast cancer.
An active mother of three, Daisy has always been the picture of good health. Well known for always sporting a beautiful smile, Daisy is the kind of friend that we all look forward to seeing; happy, upbeat, energetic and loving. Reality is Daisy is an amazing mom and an equally amazing friend.
When her initial diagnosis of stage 4 Breast Cancer was announced Daisy’s friends and family were in shock. None of them knew what to think, what to hope for or, for that matter, what to feel. Shock, fear, anger, but most important, determination topped everyone’s list.
“She is so young, beautiful, vibrant, and active - she was the picture of health so it was definitely a shock to hear that not only did she have cancer, but that she was stage 4,” said Tammie Heartquist. “I thought ‘How can this be happening?!’ I also identified with her because like her, I am a wife and mother of three. I thought, ‘This could be ME!!’ It definitely has changed me. It has made me realize even more than ever that breast cancer does not discriminate against ANYONE! Woman, man, young, old, those who work out and eat a good diet, versus those who don't. It can happen to anyone!”
It didn’t take long for Daisy’s loved ones to make the decision to fight back against cancer and “Team Daisy” was formed. Almost immediately Daisy’s circle of family and friends banded together and vowed to make a difference. “Daisy was diagnosed in September and the annual breast cancer walk was the very next month. I rallied my family members and friends to make any donation they could to Team Daisy to help find a cure for breast cancer and support the American Cancer Society,” explained Karen Bielecki. “I was proud to be a part of Team Daisy and still am.”
“I got involved with Team Daisy after Daisy’s breast cancer diagnosis,” added Cathy Burgoyne. “I was really shocked by her diagnosis and wanted to show my support. I have done the walk for several years prior in honor of my friend Linda who battled breast cancer and lost her fight in 2005 at age 43.”
Tammie Heartquist could not agree more, “I got involved in 2011 because my dear friend Daisy had just been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer a couple of months before the walk. When I heard that her family organized the walk, I HAD to be a part of it - the raising of money, the support to her and her family, and the support to all our friends who had just been hit with this devastating news. I wouldn't have missed it for anything!”
Reality is, Daisy’s diagnosis not only changed her life but changed the lives of so many people around her.
“Daisy will always be known for living life to the fullest and saying, ‘Life is Good’, even after her diagnosis. Daisy feels extremely blessed and this type of outlook on life has impacted so many people in her life,” said Kelly Wentworth. “If I feel like I am having a horrible day or am about to complain about something, I think about the challenges that Daisy is facing and how strong she is and how she has an optimistic attitude. Without even being aware of the impact she has had, I know that I am more thankful and am more apt to let the little things slide right off my back.”
Maria Rappold shares Wentworth's sentiments.
“It has really brought it up close and personal for me. I have known people who have had breast cancer, but no one at Stage IV and no one that I've known as well as I know Daisy," said Rappold. "I find Daisy to be an inspiration in my day to day life. Sometimes if I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I think of Daisy and how gracefully she has handled this diagnosis. Sometimes it puts life in perspective and makes me realize that no problem is too big to overcome.
"You've heard of "What Would Jesus Do?" Well, sometimes you just have to say "What would Daisy do?"
Fact of the matter is we do know what Daisy would do. Daisy would bravely face her diagnosis, live every day to the fullest and fight cancer every step of the way.
This Sunday, Oct. 14, as Team Daisy prepares for their second Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk, they are welcoming one very special member to the team. This year Daisy herself will be walking alongside her dedicated group of friends and family.
Recently, Daisy and her family relocated to Texas but even distance isn’t going to keep her from flying back to help find a cure for breast cancer.
Her presence will, undoubtedly, bring even more energy and love to Team Daisy. Having Daisy at the Walk is so important for her friends and family, but I think it is mostly important for her,” said Maria Rappold. “Last year, the energy of Team Daisy was so incredible. Any one taking part in last year's walk felt that energy. For Daisy to be able to feel that energy first hand is going to be awesome!”
“It will mean SO much to me to have Daisy at the walk this year. It's hard to believe it has been a year since the last one. I remember at the last one I was SO emotional because she was not able to join us at the walk, as she was still recovering from surgery (bilateral titanium rod implants in both femurs), and her diagnosis was so new that I think I was still in shock,” added Tammie Heartquist. “I kept saying, ‘I can't wait for next year's walk, because I know Daisy is going to be there with us!!’ Being at the walk is such an emotional, life changing experience, and I am so happy that Daisy will be able to experience it herself this time!”
In many ways Team Daisy is as much about friendship and love as it is about fighting cancer.
“Last year, I signed up to support my friend Daisy in her battle with this horrible disease, as well as be there with my friends who are hurting since hearing her diagnosis,” Kelly Wentworth remembered. “My friends and I have bonded together, even more than we already were, and are there to support one another as one of our dear friends is going through this journey.”
As for Daisy she couldn’t be happier to join the team names in her honor.
“It means so much to me to be there this year because I wasn't able to attend last year due to my surgery. I can't wait to walk beside all those who were there to walk for me when I couldn't. The overwhelming love and support I witnessed last year truly got me through what I would say was the most difficult time of my life. So this year I'm walking with you (or for you, if you can't this year) to say Thank You for loving me enough and supporting such a great cause. I pray for a cure someday.”
Last year Team Daisy raised over $30,000 in just a few short weeks and, this year, they hope to make an even larger donation. For more information about Team Daisy or to make a donation visit them online.
For more on the battle against Breast Cancer, click here to check out the Tewksbury Patch Breast Cancer Awareness Page.