Since receiving her cancer-free screen in 2018, Lea Del Pietro Doherty has been open to sharing her breast cancer story in hopes of helping others. As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she sat down to recount what she went through and to remind everyone of the importance of annual screenings.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Since her family has a history of breast cancer, including her mom and sister, she made sure to be on top of her health with mammograms and doctor visits every six months. In-between one of those visits, she found a lump during a self-exam. Her doctor diagnosed her with breast cancer on December 5, 2017.
Talk With Her Family
Lea and her husband, Brian Doherty, sat down with their daughters, then ages 7, 8, and 12, at the kitchen table to break the stark news to them gently. “Seeing the fear in their faces and the silence of their voices was the worst part of my cancer,” recounted Lea. “To open the air up for conversation, I said they each had to ask five questions before they could leave the table. This turning point in our lives made us be more open and honest with one another.”
Lea and Brian run The Block, and now also 58hundred and Cleaver & Cocktail, with her brother Marc Del Pietro and his wife, Amy. Since Lea and Brian’s children often go to the restaurant, they know how to talk to adults. “I know they’ll look on the internet, but I wanted them to learn about it from me first,” Lea said.
Road to Recovery
Lea wants women to know their bodies. She was diagnosed at age 44, and the average woman starts breast cancer screenings at 50. Trust your instincts, and if your doctor says you don’t need a mammogram, say you want one.
Lea’s Advice for Cancer Patients
Her advice for all women and men with cancer is to:
- Know your story and trust yourself.
- Surround yourself with caring people who support you.
- Treat yourself well with everything you put in your body and mind.
- Be kind to yourself, but allow yourself to go through every emotion you need to go through.
“Cancer has made me slow down and appreciate every day, even the bad days, and be grateful,” said Lea. “I am truly grateful for my husband who somehow still ran our business and never once complained, my daughters who showed grace and strength, and the support of my mother and sister, friends, and community.”
Support Breast Cancer Recovery With Cleaver & Cocktail
This October, Cleaver & Cocktail is supporting breast cancer recovery.
100% of proceeds for their signature cocktail Pink Drink 75 will go toward Pink Ribbon Girls, a nonprofit organization that provides meals, transportation, housecleaning, and peer support free of charge to breast cancer or gynecological cancer patients. Pink Drink 75 has Empress gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, bubbles, and a lemon twist.
On Thursday, October 20, they will host Dine Out With Komen. Dinner is reservation only, and 20% of proceeds from the day will go toward Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer.