Lahey employee honors mother, urges others to get breast cancer screenings
Kneeling by the side of her bed at just 13 years old, Diane Bainbridge made the same request to the heavens every night for eight months. “I can remember praying every night that my mother would live.” Her mother, MaryAnn, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 and died less than a year later, leaving the adolescent Diane and her sister without a mother. Now that she’s a mother herself, Diane is participating in the Lahey Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run in order to raise money for cancer programs and services. Not only does she want to honor her mother, Diane wants to help patients with cancer like her mother.
The speed with which her mother’s condition deteriorated made the loss even more difficult. “I watched her decline, and then in the last month, they just took her out of the house, and brought her to the hospital,” Diane said.
Her father, despite his grief, was a rock for Diane and her sister. He made it a point to be open and discuss his girls’ feelings with them. “He was very open, he talked to us a lot, and that helped a lot,” Diane recalled. He was a singer, too. One of the things that gave Diane and her sister comfort were the quiet moments at home, where her father would sing “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro, a pop song released in 1968. The lyrics hit home for the whole family. “And Honey, I miss you/And I’m bein’ good/And I’d love to be with you/If only I could.”
Advocating for Women, Patients with Cancer
Diane has taken the lessons she learned from her mother’s bout with breast cancer and has become an advocate for breast health. Family history of different types of cancer can put patients at higher risk of developing the same cancer. Armed with this knowledge, Diane gets a mammogram and breast MRI every year and encourages her three young daughters to do the same. She was also tested for the breast cancer gene, a test that luckily came back negative.
She works as a web developer for Lahey, but that doesn’t color how she feels about the care she has received at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “I’ve had several biopsies,” Diane explained. “The team here at Lahey has been really supportive and really on top of things. That’s made me have to worry less, because I feel like they’re worrying for me.”
The 2020 Lahey Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run will be Diane’s third. But this year, she has her own team, named for her mother. “In Memory of MaryAnn” is comprised of Diane, her husband Chris, and her three daughters, Rachel, Rebecca and Melissa. Her whole family is rallying around Diane to support her, raise money for a good cause and honor the mother-in-law and grandmother they never got to meet, but who they care about all the same.
Diane wants people to know the importance of screening, and hitting the 5K course is her way of getting the word out. “I tell people, ‘Go,’” she said. “I think a lot of people don’t get screenings because they’re afraid of what the results will be. But aren’t you afraid all the time, anyway? That’s why you’re not going, so you may as well know, because once you know, knowledge is power, and you can do something about it.”