MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – Linda Tommela
How did you hear about Cancer Support Community?
In 1991 I moved to Thousand Oaks and the very next day I was diagnosed with retinal melanoma. I was 8 months pregnant and didn’t know a soul other than my Ob/Gyn. He referred me to CSC. I am probably the only one who has walked into CSC very pregnant and sobbing. It was truly a lifeline for me. I had my baby and when she was two weeks old, I began attending weekly support meetings. The compassion and caring I experienced carried me through treatment and the critical early stages of motherhood.
How long have you been coming here?
I first came to CSC in 1991 to join a support group, and over the years participated in a variety events including being a team member for the Big Sur Marathon fundraiser, and volunteer for the Holiday Homes Tour.
I came back to the CSC in 2015 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
How has cancer impacted your family?
Because the melanoma in 1991 caused blindness in one eye, my family, especially my kids always knew I had experienced something very serious. I always told them the truth and we had so much fun with the fact that I only saw out of one eye. I had to wear a eye patch for awhile, so I played pirates with my 4-year old and his friends! And when my daughter was about six, she thought it would be the coolest thing if I could lose sight in the other eye too so we could get a seeing-eye dog!
My experience with CSC came full circle when my daughter who I was pregnant with when I walked into CSC for the first time, chose to volunteer at CSC for her high school community service project. CSC gave so much to our family and she was honored to have the opportunity to give back.
Why did you participate in the Cups of Courage event?
In 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through chemo and radiation. Again, in the spirit making the most of a scary situation, I immediately knew I wanted to do my small part to raise awareness, and have a great time doing it! The camaraderie of the other survivors was so inspiring. How often do you get to sit in the middle of a mall with a pile of bras, decorations, and glue guns, laughing and sharing stories for such an amazing cause?
Tells us about the bra you decorated and why you decorated it that way.
I chose a sweet theme using the colors for breast cancer awareness… I decorated my bra with Good & Plenty candy! My life is Good, and I have Plenty to be thankful for.