Elaine Mora: A Breast Cancer Survivor

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to be appreciative of the stories of survivors and spread awareness of this disease. Elaine Mora, a breast cancer survivor, urges those who have been diagnosed to keep fighting and find their support group. However, Mora’s support group isn’t what everyone would imagine.

Save Our Sisters (SOS) is a non-profit organization with a twist. In fact, it is South Florida’s first ever Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Racing team. SOS is dedicated to educating the public on breast cancer, raising money and forming a survivor group that focuses on living, rather than the disease that brought these women together.

Her Campus UFL (HC UFL): When were you diagnosed with breast cancer and what was it like to cope with the process?  How did it feel to live with this life changing news?

Elaine Mora (EM): When I went in for my mammogram and sonogram that day, February 2012, I was so sure that all would be good. Six months earlier I had a right breast lumpectomy and they wanted me to come back just to be clear all was gone. But no, I had an immediate phone call following my appointment that said I needed an MRI. I knew this was not good but still was very positive. I had the MRI on a Friday and that evening I was diagnosed with DCIS. I said, “how can that be?” I didn’t even know what that was and was fearful of googling it. It was a Friday afternoon and I was sitting at my desk at work. I hung up the phone and thought, “I’m going to die? What do I do?” I think my whole world came to mind with the news. My co-worker/friend walked in my office and I told her. She hugged me and told me I would be alright. I called my husband and spoke with my sister. All I said was I have breast cancer, and I cried. My mind was going crazy, I couldn’t stop hearing the news in my head.

HC UFL: When did you discover this group of people affected by breast cancer?  What exactly is it?

EM: In 2014, I heard about this “Dragonboat Breast Cancer Team” through my daughter, Samantha. She told me about this group of ladies that came to her high school to share their stories about breast cancer, but how this sport changed their lives for the better. I still was not sold on this, but one day my gynecologist called me at work and left me a message to call him. Of course, my heart dropped and I was fearful to call him back, thinking doctors only call with bad news  My friend said, “you better call him or I will.” So I picked up the phone, called him and he said I have someone I want you to meet. I said what? He then put one of his patients on the phone, a breast cancer survivor, and she proceeded to tell me about this great “Dragonboat” team that she has been on for years and that I should try it. That was just the beginning, I went the following Saturday to practice and I have been there ever since. This group has been amazing, we not only go to practice but we race and travel together. We have so much fun and we live it up, we laugh and we play. But most importantly, we have this sisterhood and we are all proud to be a part of it.

HC UFL: For someone who just found out they are diagnosed with breast cancer, what are some words of wisdom and tips you would give them?

EM: This is never easy, but I know that I am alive and I am available for anyone who needs me. I let the person know that their decision is the best decision, even though you will hear many pieces of advice. Listen to your options and only you make the decision, you have to be happy with your choice. Be thankful that it was found and get ready to fight this and know you have many people who will be there fighting with you. Stay positive and move forward!

If you’re interested in joining the Dragonboat Breast Cancer Team or donating to the Save Our Sisters Mission, visit their website at http://teamsosmiami.org/.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, make sure to check yourself. The UF Health Breast Center provides resources, information and the opportunity to make appointments with doctors. Visit UF Health today!