Sponsored Content: Look for daily Think Pink features on gazette.com during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In 2009, Fran Busick participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as a fundraiser and advocate for breast cancer research and support. Five years later, she would walk again, this time as a recent survivor – just three days before her final round of chemotherapy on September 10.

“It feels like forever since I’ve been walking this journey,” she said.

When she first diagnosed with Stage II triple-negative Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) breast cancer, Busick was set to deploy in a few days for one year at Fort Bliss in Texas. 45-year-old SFC Busick is stationed in the reserves at Peterson Air Force Base.

“I discovered the lump on Valentine’s Day 2014, but didn’t think anything of it since I don’t have a family history,” she said. “But after my diagnosis, I decided to get a double mastectomy.”

Busick participated in the Avon Walk on September 7 in Santa Barbara, Calif., with friends, including her walking partner and fellow Zumba instructor Jessica Jo Almandaz.

“For me it was about the journey, doing the walk itself and raising the money and the achievement of walking with thousands of other women,” Busick said. “During my journey and all my weakness, I wanted to overcome the battles.”

And she has. “I finished my chemo and was only tired for one day – I was so thankful for that. I give so much credit for surviving to staying active,” Busick said.

Busick underwent chemotherapy at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, which partners with Penrose Cancer Center, part of the Centura Health Cancer Network, delivering advanced, integrated cancer care across Colorado and western Kansas.

“The staff there was so warm – all the nurses were sweet and kind, I just can’t say enough about them,” she said.

Busick has raised $4,000 for breast cancer research and survivor support through bake sales, hosting a Zumbathon, and rallying friends and family to donate. A majority of the funds came from sales of Busick’s handmake paracord bracelets and keychains, which she crafts in breast cancer- and NFL-themed colors. To inquire about pricing or place an order, contact Busick at franflower2004@yahoo.com.

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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