Tri-Valley SOCKs (Stepping Out for Cancer Kures)
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Two Time Survivor Maria Bradfield Shares Her Story

“Is this the infamous Mrs. Bradfield?” “Why yes it is,” and, “is this the wonderful Dr. Wynn bringing me great news?” When he hesitated I knew. I felt my throat get tight and my stomach started to churn…….Not again. I had surpassed the 5 year marker. It was 9 years later. Hadn't I been through this once already? Isn't once enough? Apparently not. 

I took a deep breath…..hey, I know the routine, I am a veteran of this disease. I will have the cancer removed, radiation therapy and move on with life. My yuppie and downie will soon match.

“Hold on,” he said. “Not so fast. I would like you to come in to my office tomorrow and discuss your options.” Oh crap….this is serious now.  

Needless to say, it was not a good night. I was working on a big project at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco and had to stay focused. I told myself, just get through the night and get home. I broke the news to my husband and daughter. Then I had to call our son and break the news to him. Telling your family is the most difficult thing to do. No one ever thinks about the impact this has on their lives; we are too focused on the cancer patient.  

As we sat in the doctor’s office and listened to the shocking news, my lovely daughter Christina said the following, “Mom, you get your boobs cut off or you die."  Need I say more?  

I wasn’t going to pout and feel sorry for myself….ok truth be told, I gave myself one night of a pity party and decided my boobs were definitely going out with a bang. After all, they had entertained my husband, and fed my children. How do you say good-bye?  With gusto. We planned a big “Bye-Bye Boobies” party. We sang and danced all night. We ate boobie cakes and my great friend Ms. Jackie presented me with a Bye-Bye Boobie t-shirt along with lyrics to a song. I hauled that t-shirt and lyrics with me to the surgery room. 
Dr. Wynn later told me that he and the nurses sang the song right before they put me under.

So why did I get breast cancer a second time? Did I not learn anything the first time?

I am a firm believer in the following statement and say it out loud all the time:

Things happen for a reason. 

One of my fellow Tri-Valley SOCKs team members stated it simply……”Maria, the reason you got breast cancer again is for us and others. Your strength and attitude help others that are diagnosed and it affirms our belief and passion for continuing on with our cause of finding a cure.”  Wow!  Could this be true?  I have always been a cheerleader, mascot, leader, and supporter.  It’s my purpose in life; to reach out and serve others.

I took a stroll down memory lane as I wrote this. At the time of my first diagnosis, I was “too busy” to get breast cancer. I was 39 years old.  I had a successful career, two 

Maria with her daughter, Christina
children, and was a partner in a business. I was planning the big 40th birthday celebration. Who has time for breast cancer? Don't all diagnosed men and women say the same thing?

I told the doctor get it out and let’s get on with life. I had a partial mastectomy, radiation, and moved on. Five years later, it surfaced…..not the cancer but the emotional reaction that I had stifled deep in the recesses of my soul. I had to do something! That something was getting involved and helping others. I happened upon the Avon 3-Day (now the Komen 3-Day) breast cancer walks and I was hooked.  

In 2002, which was my first 3-Day 60 mile walk, I discovered a training leader in Livermore (Ms. Trish) and I became part of the training team. That team of course is Tri-Valley SOCKS. I had no idea we would be where we are today all those years ago. After all, I was just walking, talking and training for our big walks. All that talking creates great ideas and one idea led to another and then another. Let’s create a non-profit to help others in our community. Some said I was crazy, some said it would never work, some were afraid, and some just had to be pushed a little. Tri-Valley SOCKS developed through the dedication, passion, and perseverance of a few great women, and I am so proud of the fact that I was one of the few that helped launch this organization.  

This is where I move to the “WE” versus the “I”. The women and men involved in Tri-Valley SOCKS have touched so many lives in our community and across the country. We support those that are newly diagnosed, we raise awareness, and we walk the 3-day walks. We created a niche “walker stalker” team (Hookers for Hooters) and we cheer at the AVON and KOMEN events in California. We raise money for those less fortunate in our community, and most of all, we have so much fun doing it. It hasn’t been easy, and yes we had some rocky roads to navigate. However, when we are committed and focused on a common cause, the magic happens.

My husband Jim and my Tri-Valley SOCKs family saved my life. Had it not been for the “intervention,” I may have stayed in denial. We were at my house planning our SOCKs fund raisers and my husband told my friends that I had found another lump. The gang was so persistent that I couldn’t do another thing until first making an appointment to see the doctor. Thank goodness.  

I suppose I could write for days about my journey and perhaps one day I will. This 10 year Diamond Jubilee walk is the 20th anniversary of my first diagnosis. I wake up every morning feeling incredibly thankful for waking up on the right side of the sod and embrace each day with fervor and gusto. 

Thank you Tri-Valley SOCKs for this extraordinary honor. I am beyond humbled and grateful. I love you all and I believe in this wonderful organization with my heart and soul. Together, we envision a world without breast cancer.  
Maria with her
granddaughter, Ava
Maria with Tri-Valley SOCKs team members through the years!!