Health Team

After diagnosis, couple digs in to raise funds for Komen researchers

Posted October 5, 2016 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 5, 2016 6:14 p.m. EDT

About 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lives. It touches countless families who seek answers about the latest treatments, anything to give them hope.

The Duffields joined that common quest in January 2010, when 62-year-old Linda Duffield felt a lump in her breast.

"I found it in the shower. It was about the size of a golf ball," she said.

Chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and radiation followed.

"We were told that a 5-year survival rate would be about 22 percent. And we're at 6 years 9 months," she said.

Linda and her husband Mike credit a series of new breast cancer chemotherapy drugs with keeping her alive.

"Komen has helped fund a lot of the research that goes into these drugs. The one she was on prior to what we're doing now specifically they were very instrumental in the funding to prolong the research to get that drug out," Mike Duffield said.

For their efforts in organizing fundraisers, the Susan G. Komen Foundation named Mike Duffield one of their "More than Pink Heroes." His "Rock for the Cure" at the Blue Note Grill in Durham features local bands and an auction of sports memorabilia. In two years, he's raised $6,000.

Mike Duffield said he's willing to work hard on his event to keep breast cancer researchers busy.

"What they do sits in our house," he said, referring to his wife. "And so we're pretty passionate about making sure that that continues.

"We may not find a cure in our lifetimes, but hopefully, we will find one in our grandchildren's lifetime."

While her husband has been busy with fundraising, Linda Duffield has been active as well. She's been involved in events like bake sales and a "Bowl for the Cure" event in Clayton. For the last two years, she was the top survivor fundraiser at Komen's "Race for the Cure" in Raleigh. Since 2010, she's raised over $32,000.

Seventy-five percent of donations made to the Komen Foundation in North Carolina stay in North Carolina to support women, including paying for services like mammograms or transportation to get women to breast cancer screening centers or treatments.