Komen OC is incredibly grateful and excited to have Estela Riela as our first-ever breast cancer survivor chair of this year’s Pink Tie Ball. Estela possesses inspirational energy and passion to head up this annual gala fundraising event focused on the promise of a world without breast cancer. She has been an active participant in planning the Pink Tie Ball for the last five years and has been personally touched by Komen.
Currently in her seventh year of survivorship, Estela is co-chairing the event with her husband Sam, who has been her strongest supporter. Estela’s two daughters, Jordana and Jessica with their families, are also helping plan this year’s event and have made it a family affair.
“Sam and I are honored to be part of this year’s Pink Tie Ball. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor with two beautiful daughters. As a mother, all you can ever hope for is that your children grow up to be happy and healthy and that you as a parent can live for many years to be there for them. There were times, not once, but twice, that I worried my girls would grow up without me. I am alive today because of Komen-funded research. I want to raise funds so that every woman, every mother, will have that chance at a long, healthy life,” says Estela.
Nearly 20 years ago, when Estela was in her 40s, she went to the doctor for her routine mammogram and learned she had breast cancer. Her treatment included a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation.
After living cancer-free for more than a decade, Estela visited her doctor for another routine mammogram in 2006 and was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease, right before Mother’s Day. At the time, a new medicine had just cleared trials called Herceptin, a drug that was made available through Komen-funded research and development, which she believes is what ultimately saved her life. She also underwent the three most aggressive forms of chemotherapy and surgery.
As she faced her battle for a second time, Estela knew once she recovered she wanted to help others who are less fortunate fight this disease and help find a cure. Soon after, she became involved with Komen. We’d like to thank Estela and her family for all of their support over the years and continued dedication to Komen Orange County and the Pink Tie Ball.
The 2013 Pink Tie Ball will be held Lakeside at Lake Mission Viejo on Saturday, May 11. This year’s theme is “Quest” as we all journey together in hopes of finding a cure and ending breast cancer forever. If you’d like more information on attending or volunteering, please call 714-957-9157.