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Pink is the new green: Verde makes strides against breast cancer

Verde employee and Breast Cancer survivor Kris Vizzerra shares her story of battling cancer while working full-time, raising teenagers, and running a household. Join Verde on October 28 at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk to raise money and awareness for Breast Cancer.

Photo: Kris Vizzerra

In 2016, Kris Vizzerra walked into the doctor's office for a general health exam, several years having passed since her last checkup. The memory of her mother's tragic battle with cancer motivated her to prioritize her own health, a decision that would soon prove life-saving.

To her shock, a routine examination revealed a tiny pea-sized lump in her breast. Alarmed, her doctor promptly scheduled a mammogram, uncovering a non-invasive form of breast cancer called Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). The situation escalated quickly, leading to a lumpectomy to remove the small lump. Yet, the fight was far from over. Within a month, Kris found herself back in the operating room for a second surgery, intensifying her feelings of fear around leaving her husband, Steve, and their kids while they still so desperately needed her.

“I wasn’t afraid to die,” said Kris. “I was afraid of leaving my family too soon. I would think about Steve and the boys and everything I do for our family. I knew they still needed me,” she said fighting back tears.

Amidst the uncertainty, Kris and Steve made the decision to shield their children, Nate, Noah, and Ian, from unnecessary worry. The weight of the situation hung heavily on their shoulders.

Despite the immense challenges, Kris displayed unparalleled strength. She endured eight weeks of grueling radiation therapy, each session a testament to her unwavering determination. With remarkable courage, she faced the daily radiation treatments head-on, allowing herself only a single day off after each surgery. Throughout this ordeal, she continued to work full-time, managing her own business, all while juggling the responsibilities of running a household and raising kids.

With unwavering resilience, Kris persevered. The routine post-cancer mammograms transitioned from frequent to annual visits. Seven years after that initial diagnosis, Kris stands tall as a survivor in remission. Her enduring strength and deep love for her family carried her through the toughest of times. Today, her story serves as a beacon of hope for others facing similar battles.

Leading up to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in October, Kris wants to share her experience as a reminder of the importance of regular check-ups and early detection--underlining a crucial message: early detection saves lives! “Even if my story inspires one person to schedule a checkup, it’s worth it.”

Kris Vizzerra is walking with fellow Verde employees during the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Tempe, AZ on October 28, 2023.

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