Mother and daughter share breast cancer journey and share survivorship

When Marlys Shilts’ daughter Kathy completed her chemotherapy, she was excited, relieved and so proud of her daughter.  (If you haven’t read Kathy’s story yet, click here.) A few weeks later, Kathy’s daughter welcomed baby Emily, Marlys’ first great-grandchild and Kathy’s first grandchild into the world.  Marlys was overjoyed!

Marlys Shilts - Aurora Health Care Foundation

“We were all happy, and then all of a sudden we weren’t happy,” she said. She felt a lump in her breast.  After a mammogram, Marlys’ doctors discovered it was breast cancer.  “My daughter told me to go to the same doctors who helped her through treatment.” So Marlys found herself at Aurora West Allis Women’s Pavilion.

“My daughter and I had the same surgeon, oncologist, plastic surgeon, and radiologist,” said Marlys.  “To find out you have cancer is such an awful thing, but they really make it as easy on you and they treat you very well.”

On Tuesday, January 7, 2014, Marlys, age 80, completed her last day of radiation, six months after her daughter finished her own treatment.

“The last day was emotional,” said Marlys, “because it was hard to say goodbye to people I talked to every day during the treatments. We formed a real bond and built a little community.”

The breast cancer journey does not end with treatment.  Marlys and Kathy are there for each other as mother and daughter, and as fellow survivors as well.


Pink Possible LogoSurvivorship programs are instrumental in supporting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health after cancer.  These programs help individuals stay connected to a supportive community, and can help survivors and their families better understand life after cancer.

Programs for survivors are generously supported by donors of Aurora Health Care Foundation.  To learn more about breast cancer survivorship programs such as Living Well Beyond Cancer or Team Phoenix go to Aurora.org/PinkPossible


Pink-logo-ribbonThen, come celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kathy, Team Phoenix, and other survivors who will be rallying together at Pink Possible night with the Milwaukee Admirals!  Learn more and buy your tickets today at Aurora.org/PinkPossible.  

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