SPOKANE, Wash.—A Spokane artist’s struggle with breast cancer became the inspiration for her music.
Valerie Stichweh said she has been singing and performing since she was a child and the song she performed at MultiCare Rockwood Health’s Mammo Night means more than anyone could ever know.
Mammo Night was an event open to the public to give women to chance to get mammograms.
Stichweh who’s stage name is Valerie Jeanne sang her song ‘Rainbow After the Storm’, written by Michelle McCammond and Mellad Abeid.
The song was inspired by her battle with breast cancer.
"I found something that felt unusual, but I was only 39 years old and so I thought oh you know it's probably nothing,” said Stichweh.
December 2, 2014 the singer was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"The doctor hugged me three times so I had a feeling I might be in trouble,” said Stichweh. "It was a total shock to me and my family. We didn't see that one coming, but I guess no one does."
Stichweh with the help of her loved ones and her team of doctors at the MultiCare Rockwood Health fought the disease two years.
"I have the most amazing team of doctors,” she said.
She said she had a double mastectomy, 13 lymph nodes removed, 33 radiation treatments and she did chemotherapy for more than a year.
After two years she is remission.
"It was extremely grueling physically, emotionally, and it still is really hard dealing with the aftermath, but I am just grateful to God to be alive,” said Stichweh.
Stichweh said she’s using her newfound strength to inspire others through her music.
"I needed to hear stories of encouragement and stories of people making it through, because I was so scared that I wouldn't make it,” said Stichweh.
One of Stichweh’s doctors, Dr. Lisa Maestas said Stichweh was always positive and she is happy to see her encouraging women to get mammograms and other preventive care.
“It's important to just get it further looked at to make sure it isn't a cancer, because if it is a cancer it can be treated,” said Maestas.
The medical professionals at MultiCare Rockwood hope to give women the best chance they can survive a cancer diagnosis.
MultiCare Rockwood Breast Health Center in Spokane Valley was where they were offering mammograms to the public.— Alexa Block (@KREMAlexa) October 27, 2017
They will be hosting another Mammo Night Monday Ocotber 30th at the main clinic on Fifth Street. To sign up call (509) 755-5801.