Local breast cancer survivor gives back to others through chemo bags

Fundraising event ‘Pink Out Night’ will be Friday.

A local breast cancer survivor is giving back and working to uplift others who are going though the same journey.

Alison Deady was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago when she was 24.

“I found a lump, so I made an appointment and went to the doctor. A week after all these tests, I was diagnosed with Stage-3 Triple-Negative breast cancer... I had no family history and didn’t carry any of the genes for it so I don’t know why I got it,” she said.

Deady then started chemo at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center in Columbus. She had 16 rounds over 20 weeks, and then a double mastectomy with no reconstruction.

During chemo, Deady was given a bag with helpful and uplifting items, and that’s when the idea started. As a way to give back, Deady, her sister Tabitha Swinford, and her mom Becky, decided to start giving out chemo bags as a way to give back to women and men going through chemo. The bags are full of helpful and uplifting items that are donated each year to survivors.

“I had cancer for a reason and my reason was to help other people,” she said.

Deady is a co-owner of a haunted house in Springfield called Terror Maze with her dad Paul, who has partnered with the Springfield Aerie 397, FOP 72 and FOP 7 for this year’s sixth annual Pink Out night. Her whole family is involved - her mom, dad, kids, grandpa, aunts and family friends - and this year the event will be a little different as it’s not at the haunted house and they’re hosting a dinner.

“It’s such a family thing for us and a way to give back because I was given so much during my treatment... We try to give back as much as we can,” she said.

The first Pink Out night was held seven years ago at the haunted house to raise money for the chemo bags, in which they were able to donate 50 the first year. After Deady was done with treatment, they delivered the bags to survivors and talked to them about their journey.

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Last year, the event raised enough to donate 75 chemo bags, which are reusable bags full anything that can help during the chemo journey or brighten a day, such as as calendars, pens, mints, socks, hats, gloves, nail polish, blankets, and more.

“I’m just very thankful for the support system I had, and I hope that the chemo bags do that for the other people and help them get through it,” Deady said.

The Pink Out night will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 1802 Selma Road in Springfield.

Tickets cost $15 and include dinner, bottle water, and door prize tickets for auctioned items. There will also be a cash bar and attendees can purchase additional tickets for raffle baskets.

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All money raised will go to purchasing chemo bags and the items that go inside. Deady is hoping to raise enough money to donate at least 75 bags, which will be hand delivered to survivors around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

“All bags have a note explaining where it came from, why we do it, we share our story and have my contact information if they want to reach out and talk or share their story. I keep that line of communication open,” Deady said.

For tickets, visit www.terrormaze.com.

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