It was late April 2004, Alyse Batt, then 43, would soon realize her dream of running the New York City Marathon. Set to run the 26.2 mile race in November of that year, the mother of two later learned she would be running a different kind of marathon.
The following month, doctors diagnosed a stage I ductal carcinoma insitu of her right breast that would require a lumpectomy, six months of chemotherapy and more than 30 radiation treatments.
The devastating diagnosis left Alyse dumbfounded. "I remember thinking, 'how could this happen to me? I don't eat junk food, I don't drink, smoke...I'm a runner', I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I had it [cancer]."
Just five days after her lumpectomy and throughout her chemotherapy and radiation treatment Alyse found the strength and resolve to run. "I ran with my friends at 5:30 am every day during the week and...over the weekend," said the Massapequa resident. "Running is my outlet; it's my stress relief."
Maintaining her routine helped Alyse cope as she struggled with anxiety and depression in the aftermath of her diagnosis. "I tried to be 'Wonder Woman' so no one would know what I was going through. I hid a lot of my feelings," she said.
Cancer-free for 16 years, Alyse now 60, says her mission is to advocate for early breast cancer detection and screening. "A lot of women say they don't have time for a mammogram. Don't be stupid. Take care of yourself," she said. "It could mean the difference between life and death."