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Sam's Story

  • Author: Sam F.
  • Date Submitted: Jul 23, 2018
  • Category: Cancer

It’s amazing what a little perspective can do. For instance, exploring a new city at ground level gives you quite a different experience than viewing it from the top of its tallest building. Combining both vantage points gives you a better understanding than you could hope to get separately.

The same is true for breast cancer. The impact of breast cancer is profound and affects everyone differently. Seeing breast cancer from the point of view of a survivor, a loved one and a cancer navigator offers valuable insight into the disease—and some surprisingly positive perspectives.


Diagnosed at age 29 and just two weeks before she was due to deliver her second child, Samantha was determined not to let cancer get in her way. Samantha gave birth and then began treatment with

a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.

During her treatment, Samantha met many times with  Shannon Luker, Parrish Cancer Center’s nationally Certified Breast Cancer Navigator®. Luker provided education, offered encouragement and answered questions.

“It was wonderful to have Shannon Luker, my breast cancer navigator,” Samantha says. “She was always available to answer my questions, even in the middle of the night.”

Samantha is cancer-free today and says the experience made her a better person. She helps others by making gift bags for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. The bags contain comfort items for patients going through chemotherapy.

Loved One

“When the doctor told us the lump in her breast was cancerous, I felt my heart drop,” Samantha’s husband, Paul, says. “Sam was young and expecting our second baby. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”

Samantha and Paul found solace in their shared faith to get through the tough times. With the journey behind them, Paul says cancer truly changed their perspective. “It made us realize what is really important in life,” he explains.

Cancer Navigator

Shannon Luker is one of Parrish Cancer Center’s nationally certified Breast Cancer Navigators®.

She knows that being diagnosed with cancer is a devastating experience. Luker knows people will have questions about their health and treatment options.

At Parrish Cancer Center, there is hope and help. Luker provides support and helps people get the best care possible.

“Breast cancer is a life-changing experience,” Luker says. “I’m here to guide our patients through the healthcare system and make sure they have everything they need.”