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When Lilian Vanvieldt-Gray was diagnosed with date 3 blight in July 2017, the account rocked her to the core. But aback she abstruse in the afterwards weeks that several abiogenetic admonishing signs had been pointing her in that administration all along, she got motivated.

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Vanvieldt-Gray, and her bedmate Douglas Gray, accept angry their clandestine bloom attempt into a accessible belvedere to animate and advice added atramentous women and men with a aerial accident agency for blight to get mammograms and screenings.

“A mammogram adored my life,” she said. “Our ambition is to accession money for (mammogram) grants. I can’t anticipate bodies from actuality afflicted by blight but I can anticipate bodies from actuality affected to accomplish a activity or afterlife accommodation due to finances.”

Vanvieldt-Gray, 53, is Susan G. Komen San Diego’s 2018 Honorary Breast Blight Survivor. As a articulate apostle for blight awareness, she will allege at the aperture ceremonies for Komen’s 2018 Chase for the Cure, a fundraising airing on Nov. 4 in Balboa Park.

Her bedmate is appropriately complex in the fight. In 2017, he organized Lilian’s Lovelies, a aggregation of added than 50 walkers who aloft added than $33,000 for Komen programs. He’s now alive on accumulating an alike bigger aggregation for this fall’s Race.

Shaina Gross, admiral and CEO for Susan G. Komen San Diego, said the brace has helped her aggrandize beat in San Diego’s under-served atramentous community.

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“They deserve a lot of credit,” Gross said. “Too generally bodies don’t allocution about this, so for her to be so accessible with her adventure is incredible. She’s not alone angry for her own life, she’s application it to accomplish abiding added bodies in the aforementioned bearings are accepting activated and actuality cared for. I anticipate it’s such a allowance to the community.”

Black women accept a lower accident of blight than Caucasian women, but their bloodshed amount is 40 percent higher. This is due, in part, to atramentous women disposed to be diagnosed at afterwards stages of the ache and to accepting a academy amount of advancing tumors.

Besides her ethnicity, Vanvieldt-Gray had two added alarming accident factors. She has close tissue, which studies accept apparent can beggarly a four to bristles times academy accident of cancer. She additionally has a ancestors history of prostate and cancer. Afterwards her diagnosis, she apparent she carries the BRCA II abiogenetic mutation, which increases the accident of blight by 45 percent to 65 percent.

Because of her close tissue, Vanvieldt-Gray had been active about accepting anniversary mammograms, but she had no abstraction until aftermost summer how abrupt the accouter had been ample adjoin her from bearing in added ways.

She underwent a bifold mastectomy and endured about a year of advancing chemotherapy and a arduous aeon of radiation and consecutive bake therapy. Since June she has been cancer-free but charcoal at accident of developing altered cancers.

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“I never accomplished annihilation like the abhorrence we had,” she said. “It’s the aboriginal time I anytime met with my bloodshed and accomplished that I may die. It was intense.”

Howard Lipin / The San Diego-Union-Tribune

Lilian Vanvieldt-Gray, who is the Susan G. Komen’s honorary survivor for the 2018 Chase for the Cure. Lilian and her team, aloft added than $33,000 for blight analysis at aftermost year’s chase and she has become a apostle and apostle for blight awareness.

Lilian Vanvieldt-Gray, who is the Susan G. Komen’s honorary survivor for the 2018 Chase for the Cure. Lilian and her team, aloft added than $33,000 for blight analysis at aftermost year’s chase and she has become a apostle and apostle for blight awareness. (Howard Lipin / The San Diego-Union-Tribune)

Vanvieldt-Gray grew up in the South American country of Guyana area her ancestor was a community official. Economic and political agitation in the country led her mother to arrive to America in the aboriginal 1970s area she formed as a chambermaid maid and aloft money to accompany her ancestors members, one by one, to the United States. Vanvieldt-Gray was 10 years old aback she accustomed in Los Angeles in 1975.

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“My parents formed so hard. They told us we didn’t appear actuality to play,” she said. “They accustomed their accouchement to assignment adamantine in academy and succeed.”

During her boyhood years in Pomona, Vanvieldt-Gray said she was accomplished by her parents to accord aback as acknowledgment for the opportunities they begin in America. Her mother started the Guyana Nurses Association and Vanvieldt-Gray consistently sends money home to beggared Guyanese relatives.

“I’ve been adored and awful favored,” she said of her alms efforts.

In 1982, Vanvieldt-Gray was accustomed to UCLA, area she advised economics and history. She ran the Apprentice Apprenticeship Exposure Project, which encouraged underprivileged adolescence to appear the university. She additionally acid her accessible speaking abilities as a affiliate of the Bruin Belles, a women’s apprentice accumulation who represented the academy at accessible events.

Since college, she has spent added than 20 years in the allowance industry, best of them at Alliant Insurance, area she is a chief carnality president. She met her husband, a San Diego allowance industry executive, at a affair in January 2008. Afterwards three years of dating, she confused from L.A. to accompany him actuality in 2011. They alive downtown.

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The brace is inseparable. They’re accepted to dress in analogous colors and can accomplishment anniversary added sentences. Afterwards her analysis — which he refers to as “when we got cancer” — he was the one who recommended she acquaintance Komen. He additionally came to all of her chemotherapy treatments.

It was at those hourslong accessories that Vanvieldt-Gray aboriginal started advocating to anyone aural alert ambit for Komen, decidedly its Breast Blight Screening and Analytic fund, which provides grants for mammograms and added exams to the beggared and under-insured.

“She wants to accomplish lemonade from lemons. She capital to be herself and do article claimed that helped empower a lot of people. It empowered me and we’re both stronger for it,” said Gray, 56, who is admiral of Compliance Hub, a software cable company.

Vanvieldt-Gray said in the aboriginal ages afterwards her diagnosis, her allowance co-pays topped $3,000. She additionally paid $3,000 out of abridged this accomplished summer for her final PET scan.

“We are advantageous to accept the agency to pay but added women do not accept that option,” she said. “This is the primary acumen we are so amorous about adopting funds for Komen San Diego.”

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Seventy-five percent of the money Komen San Diego raises stays in San Diego. The blow goes to all-embracing research. Over the accomplished bristles years, Komen San Diego has spent added than $1.2 actor on 8,000 screenings and analytic casework and added than $700,000 in banking abetment for rent, food, prescriptions and more.

Gross said abhorrence can be a big agency in arch abounding women — decidedly those with lower apprenticeship and assets levels — to abstain accepting screened. She said Vanvieldt-Gray’s advance efforts accept helped “put a face” on the charge for accretion beat to these communities.

“I accept in creating possibilities. I accept absitively that I am activity to live,” Vanvieldt-Gray said. “But accepting acclimated to a new accustomed is challenging. We charge do more. We charge added research. We charge added abutment services.”

When: 7:30 a.m. Nov. 4

Where: Balboa Park, 6th Avenue at Palm Street, San Diego

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Registration: komensandiego.org/walk

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