treatment and education, and is one of several events planned in
conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Like Flagg, Glendale Unified school board President Chuck Sambar
will be among those volunteering their time at the Avon 3-Day.
Each has a different perspective on breast cancer, and each is
trying to increase awareness.
Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common
cancer among women, accounting for nearly one in three cancer
diagnoses in American women, according to the American Cancer
It's the leading cause of death for women 40 to 55. A woman is
diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. every 14 minutes. All women are at
risk for breast cancer, and one out of nine will develop the disease.
Two days after participating in the Avon 3-Day Walk in San Diego
in April, Flagg stepped out of the shower, looked in the mirror and
noticed that her left breast had swelled to twice its normal size.
"Deep down, I knew something was wrong," she said.
Within hours, Flagg was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer,
a rare and aggressive form of the disease that often is misdiagnosed
as an insect bite or allergic reaction.
A partial mastectomy revealed a tumor the size of an orange. Four
months of chemotherapy followed, and on Aug. 30, Flagg underwent a
"At first I was shaken up," said Flagg, recalling the first time
she looked at herself in the mirror. "But after a while, you realize
it's part of your body and something that had to be done."
TWIST OF FATE
Seven years ago, Mary Sambar volunteered for a long-term cancer
study at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. The Rosemont Middle School
teacher and wife of Glendale Unified School District board president
Chuck Sambar had lost both of her parents to the disease, and wanted
to do what she could to advance cancer research.
"She felt very strongly that she should participate as a way to
memorialize her mother and father," Chuck Sambar said recently.
It was during the study -- one of several in which Mary Sambar
would participate -- that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She
retired from teaching to undergo surgery and months of chemotherapy