Rocking white hi-top sneakers, custom-bedazzled at her request by a friend, Denise Jordan illuminated her 50th birthday party with the special sparkle her family and friends know and love.
Here’s what many of her guests didn’t know: Denise’s infusion port had been removed that very morning – marking the conclusion of her course of treatment for breast cancer.
Faith and confidence
“When I was diagnosed, I had two questions: When can I get it done? And how long will I be out of work?” remembers Denise, who served as chief of staff to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and was recently appointed executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority.
Denise crafted her own answer – reporting for chemotherapy or radiation at Baystate Regional Cancer Program’s D’Amour Center for Cancer Care each morning and heading to her City Hall office in the afternoon.
Remarkably, she was able to keep her diagnosis one of Springfield’s best-kept secrets. “I didn’t want it to become a distraction from the administration’s work,” she explains.
“I willed myself to be positive,” she remembers that her journey was eased by her spiritual faith and her confidence in Baystate Health.
“I was comforted by the fact that I was in the care of Dr. Grace Makari-Judson and the Baystate team.
They were so calming and nurturing. I already knew them through my experience with people served by Rays of Hope – little imagining that I would be a recipient of their care.”
Friends and family
Denise has long been a tireless volunteer for the Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer, a Baystate Health Foundation event, which brings together more than 20,000 people every October for an event that raises funds for breast cancer care, research, and support services. This year, she is serving as event chair.
“I’ve always been honored to be part of this amazing event, and I’m doubly honored to chair the 25th annual Rays of Hope Walk & Run,” says Denise. “Unlike funds we give to national organizations, the funds we raise through Rays of Hope stay right here in our community. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. By giving to Rays of Hope, we’re helping to treat friends and family.”
“It’s a magical day,” she adds. “Seeing all those people come together in support of individuals with breast cancer – and seeing so many people that you didn’t even know were affected by it – is an amazing thing. I hope everyone who can join us will do so. Your presence, and your gift, will make a real difference in so many lives.”
Learn more about Baystate Health Foundation events.