BATON ROUGE'S QUILTED NORTHERN SOFT & STRONG® CHAMPION - RENEE ANDREA native of Baton Rouge, Renee Andre has been a dedicated volunteer for the Susan G. Komen Race for the CureŽ since 2008. A three-year survivor, Renee is a committed volunteer who will be walking to celebrate her life and others and remember the lives of those who lost the battle. Her positive attitude, compassion, commitment and efforts have not gone unnoticed. As Survivor Committee Chair and Director at Large for Susan G. Komen, she is proud to volunteer her time to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.
"My best friend and first cousin, Betty Rae was originally diagnosed in 2001 with cervical metastatic cancer. She went through treatment and I was there with her every step of the way through chemo and radiation. Three months after her recovery she was diagnosed with metastatic bone cancer. At first, we thought it was a neuropathy, but it wasn't until the bone scan that we found the mass in her femur. Being told that my best friend was going to die was the worst day of my life. From that day on I took care of her through thick and thin until June 24, 2005 when she passed away.
"I was so blessed that I got to spend that time with her and I wouldn't trade it for the world. During that time I was taking care of two households and though times were difficult, I never left Betty Rae's side-and because of that, I got to spend some of the most precious moments with her and I will never forget them.
"Twenty-eight months after losing Betty Rae, I was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 15, 2008. Ten months later, I had completed 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 35 treatments of radiation. At the same time my mother-in-law was battling breast cancer and going through chemo. Now, if there's a hero, it's my husband, Stephen. He would come home to me, his bald wife who needed him by my side and then go to take care of his mother. I knew he needed to be there to experience the precious moments with his mother as I had with Betty Rae-it's those precious moments that help you through, especially after your loved one passes.
"It's very fortunate that I had a very supportive and extensive family at home, including my sons and niece who was also my oncologist. While receiving treatments, I knew it was important to keep up my sense of humor and to know I could win this battle. Prayer, family support, a positive attitude and shear strength got me through a very long year.
"After battling cancer and surviving I look at death much differently. I've learned to celebrate every day without my cancer and I don't know if it will come back, but I know that today I will be happy and I will celebrate. God has blessed me with a wonderful family and wonderful friends and I never miss an opportunity to let them know how I feel today and from now on."
Renee is looking forward to the upcoming race and is thankful to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Event for many reasons - from the positive impact that they have in the Baton Rouge community and for putting her in contact with the wonderful women and fellow breast cancer survivors.
"When I had breast cancer I knew right away that I had to start giving my time back," Renee said. "I choose Susan G. Komen because of what they do for women in the community and their efforts to continue supporting research and their efforts to find a cure."
Renee Andre is a proud mother of two sons, Joshua, 28 and Adam, 26, and wife of Stephen Andre, married for 33 years. Renee and her family currently reside in Prairieville, La.
Georgia-Pacific is proud to call Renee Andre a Quilted Northern Soft & Strong® Champion.