Cancer brings three Vail Valley women together
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Carol Gill-Mulson did everything her doctors told her to do when she was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, and it appears that it has worked.
Gill-Mulson, the deputy chief with the Eagle River Fire Protection District, is in remission and her doctor said the chances of cancer coming back in her body are minimal, but she’s still keeping the cause a top priority.
Gill-Mulson, along with Lisa Vasquez, an Eagle County Sheriff’s deputy and volunteer firefighter, and Robyn Fetterolf, a Vail Police sergeant, are walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Summit County next month. The women have all dealt with cancer in their lives, either personally or through loved ones, and are committed to helping the search for a cure.
“It’s important to commit to things like this walk because it keeps you focused on something positive,” Gill-Mulson said. “All of the research and development and education is so important.”
Gill-Mulson found a lump on her breast through a self-examination, something she said she wasn’t doing frequently enough.
“I’m a fire fighter – I was on the line for 14 years,” Gill-Mulson said. “I thought I was bullet-proof.”
With a supportive family and friends, Gill-Mulson fought the effects of breast cancer, both mentally and physically, and feels better now. She knows there’s always a chance that her cancer could come back, so it’s something that’s in the back of her mind.
Cancer isn’t something that consumes Gill-Mulson’s mind, though, because she won’t let it.
“I try not to think about it every day,” she said. “There’s too much going on that is positive that I want to stay focused on.”
Fetterolf, who is experiencing now what it’s like to go into remission and then back to treatment, also believes in the advancements made through research. She wants to do the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer because she wants to do her part in finding a cure.
Fetterolf is going through chemotherapy treatments now, and said it’s because of advancements made in chemotherapy that she doesn’t get sick or nauseous.
She does, however, feel worn out a few days after treatment, but she has a support system around her to help get through it.
“My 3-year-old daughter keeps me motivated,” Fetterolf said. “I’ve got a lot of good support.”
Fetterolf detected a lump on her breast just months after giving birth to her daughter. She first thought the lump was related to breast-feeding, but when it wasn’t going away she saw her doctor and found out it was stage three breast cancer.
“I went through chemo and radiation and did a double bisectomy by choice because I didn’t want to deal with it again,” Fetterolf said. “I was cleared and cancer-free, up until just last February.”
Fetterolf has done a breast cancer awareness walk before and said she found inspiration in hearing other stories of struggle and hope.
Vasquez has had a different experience with cancer. She has never had it, but she knows family members, close friends and colleagues who have had various forms of cancer. It was this past December, just after she learned that one of her close friends was diagnosed with breast cancer, that Gill-Mulson asked her if she was interested in doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
Vasquez thought the timing was coincidental, and she knew she had to do it.
“They say walking a marathon is nothing compared to chemo,” Vasquez said. “I want to show my support.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Avonwalk.org and click “Rocky Mountains,” then click “donate now.” You can search for Carol Gill-Mulson, Lisa Vasquez and Robyn Fetterolf on that page and donate to support their efforts in the walk.