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Breast Cancer Survivor and FPL Team Leader in Saturday's Susan G. Komen South Florida Race

Health and Fitness

(Free Press Release) FPL has joined forces with Susan G. Komen South Florida to be the Presenting Sponsor for the 15th consecutive year in the fight against breast cancer. As the largest corporate team at the Komen South Florida Race for the Cure, Team FPL is an extension of the company’s wellness efforts - emphasizing positive health changes and managing health and well-being.

Breast Cancer Survivor and FPL Team Leader in Saturday's Susan G. Komen South Florida Race


      

Juno Beach, FL, January 28, 2012 -- As thousands of South Florida residents prepare to walk in this weekend's Susan G. Komen South Florida Race for the Cure, many pink-clad participants are particularly proud to do their share. One such individual, 25-year Florida Power & Light Company veteran and breast cancer survivor Michelle Patterson, is set to join 800 of her fellow employees and their family members at the starting line for the 21st annual Susan G. Komen South Florida Race for the Cure. Michelle works in the "poles and wires" area of FPL as a distribution technician.

Here is a short interview with Patterson:

Q: Can you tell us part of your story, starting when you were diagnosed with breast cancer?

A: Just like you are supposed to, I scheduled annual mammograms when I turned 40. I never really worried about the tests because there is no family history of breast cancer and I treated the appointments as a standard test. Fast forward a few years and, in December 2008, I received a call from my doctor who told me that the routine mammogram revealed a lump in my left breast. After a biopsy at Bethesda Hospital, my doctor shared with me that the lump was cancerous.

Q: What happened next?

A: I thought it must be a mistake when I got the news. I was at lunch at the office and I started crying. My coworkers immediately thought to call my husband, who also works at FPL, so he could take me to the doctor.

A week later, on Jan. 5, 2009, I spent my 44th birthday at Bethesda Hospital, where my husband, Keith, my mother and sister supported me through two hours of consultations. We all shared hope that my surgeon’s decision to perform a lumpectomy would remove the cancerous cells without requiring chemotherapy.

Of course, I didn't realize then that surgery was the easy part. After the surgeon found that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes under my left arm, he determined that I needed chemotherapy. I couldn't stand the thought of losing my hair.

Q: How did the chemo go for you?

A: Following my surgery, I started a series of chemo treatments that stretched 18 weeks into February. After the second treatment, in the beginning of March, my fears came true and my hair began falling out.

Every time a clump came out, I started crying. One Saturday morning, I borrowed clippers from my hair dresser, and my husband shaved my head. I bought wigs and bandanas, but never wore a thing. I overcame my fears and decided not to hide my battle. At that point, I felt like I was in control.

Chemotherapy was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but thanks to my husband and the unconditional support of my family, my (then) supervisor, Tim Hogans, and my coworkers, I was able to face my fears and turn my life's greatest challenge into a victory.

Q: How are you doing now?

A: Breast cancer was given to me for a reason. It made me strong. I feel like I did it; I survived. I am proud that I have earned the right to wear the pink shirt on event day that identifies me as a survivor. I hope that my co-workers and neighbors -- in fact, anyone who wants make a difference in their community, will participate in the 2012 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in West Palm Beach at Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Registration I hope to see you there. I'll have a pink shirt and a big smile on.

FPL has joined forces with the organization to be the Presenting Sponsor for the 15th consecutive year in the fight against breast cancer. As the largest corporate team at the Komen South Florida Race for the Cure, Team FPL is an extension of the company’s wellness efforts - emphasizing positive health changes and managing health and well-being.

A major fundraiser for Susan G. Komen, 75 percent of the event’s proceeds are invested locally to breast cancer awareness, treatment and research and the balance is used for research aimed at finding a cure for breast cancer - which strikes one in every eight women.

About Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with approximately 10,000 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla. - based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit http://www.FPL.com.

Media Contact:
FPL Media Line
Florida Power & Light Company
700 Universe Blvd.
Juno Beach, FL 33408
305-552-3888
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
http://www.fpl.com




Breast Cancer Survivor and FPL Team Leader in Saturday's Susan G. Komen South Florida Race

Source: Press Release

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