About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

Fishin' Chicks is made up of a group of volunteers. Most of us had the fortunate opportunity of knowing Laurie Soderlund and her family. Some of us were friends of Laurie and some just acquaintances, but thanks to

Laurie and Jeff,

we have all become connected because of Fishin' Chicks. 

Laurie's story is told on our Home Page,

but it doesn't end there.

Her legacy continues because Fishin' Chicks means something special

to so many people.

We continue fighting for those with breast cancer.

We continue to add their stories to hers. 

Our Mission

After meeting and talking with many cancer patients and survivors, we decided to team up with

Essentia Health and focus our fundraising efforts on providing

Compassion Care to breast cancer patients.

What this looks like varies as much by patient as does their medical needs.

It might include gas or food cards for people as they travel for their treatment.

It could be massages or comfort care during treatment.

Additionally, our volunteers do what we can to promote breast health, prevention and early intervention.

Our Stories

Our volunteers are simply individuals who donate our time to support a cause. Fishin' Chicks is about the people who we support. They are the reason we exisand here are some of their stories and their messages. If you would like to share your story, please email us at fishinchicks@fishinchicks.org

~ Erica's Story

A Message from cancer survivor 

~Rhonda S.

 

My message to all of the ladies out there is to get your mammogram when you are able. If a follow up is requested, do it! I had several follow up mammograms and finally a biopsy. When I got the dreaded call and heard the “C” word, it was gut-wrenching. Fortunately, my breast cancer was caught early, stage 1. My Surgeon and oncologist thanked me for following through with my mammograms as they credited that with the early detection and diagnosis. They told me that often women drag their feet and don’t follow through causing the cancer to grow and possibly spread. I also encourage anyone with a cancer diagnosis to reach out to family and friends. Accept their support, it will carry you through. 

Stay positive and look forward!

Nan and JayDee, residents of Iron River, Wisconsin, were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Both of us did weeks of chemo, double mastectomies in early 2006, followed by 6 weeks of daily radiation and a series of drugs for 5 years. Most of this treatment was in Duluth requiring thousands of miles on Highway 2. Both of us have lymphedema in our arms (Nan has both and JayDee has one) following surgery. We wear sleeves and pump our arms daily with pneumatic pumps.

 

We were friends for years before cancer and became intimate friends during our fight to live. We discovered the need to give each other support during and after treatment. We then realized that others in our community were facing similar challenges and needed our shared experience and friendship. The “Pink Ladies” began meeting monthly at homes with a shared meal. We have added 6 members and lost 1 member who died in 2020. We encourage others to join us when we know that they are facing the same challenges as each of us have. We expect that our numbers will increase this year.

 

We provide support, share resources and help if help is needed. We share transportation, celebrations, disappointments and lots of free advice. Shopping together at Heidi’s in Duluth (a medical supply shop that serves breast cancer patients) is more fun going together and sharing critics of our choices with laughter and celebration.

 

This year we decided to give back. We were asked by the Lions in Iron River if we would like to serve beer at the Blueberry Festival and give our tips to our choice of worthy causes. Seven of us did a 2-hour shift in our Pink Lady shirts. We raised over $500 that we donated to Berni’s Cancer Fund, a local fund that supports cancer warriors like ourselves with gift cards for gas or food.

 

Iron River, Wisconsin is a rural community. We do not have a lot of support services in our community. We do have people that care about each other and many that are willing to help. Working together, we have found strength in numbers and friendship. Our group is very formal and we would encourage others to consider similar relationships to fight the challenges breast cancer warriors face, often on a daily basis.

Cancer Survivor ~ Mary Ann S.

 

As I’m beginning to put my breast cancer journey, experiences, and thoughts on paper, a television show comes on honoring 10 women who have started US based non profit organizations.  And, just as I’m beginning to type, Lara MacGregor comes on.  Lara has metastatic breast cancer.  Despite her diagnosis, Lara started a non profit organization called Hope Scarves, that provides head scarfs and support for breast cancer patients.  Unfortunately after 7 years of remission, her cancer has returned, is stage 4, and she is facing her mortality.  Despite this, Lara has expanded her program and is now also raising money for metastatic breast cancer research.  I have now stopped typing and think wow!  This woman is amazing!  She has helped so many, despite her own cancer.  

 

I also realize how blessed I am.  Yes, I had breast cancer, I had a bilateral mastectomy, I endured painful healing and weekly fills, I had reconstruction surgery, a bit more pain, and more healing.  But I am doing extremely well.  I was a lucky one.  I didn’t need chemo, radiation or cancer medications.  The type of cancer I had was non-invasive.  It was found early, treated aggressively, and I had great results.  

 

It doesn’t mean my journey was easy.  The surgery went well, but the recovery was very painful.  Much more painful than I expected.  And, it took much longer than I expected to heal and feel like myself again.  I was told by a fellow patient to expect it to take a year to feel normal again.  At the time I simply couldn’t believe her, but she was right.  

 

However, here I am five years latter, feeling lucky, blessed and loved.  I had support, prayers and love from family, friends, neighbors, doctors, nurses, and more.  In February, I will see my cancer doctor and expect to be released from her care as I will be a 5 year survivor!  I will go back again in 5 years, but for now I feel extremely hopeful for my future, and I thank God everyday for my positive outcome.  

~ Rhonda S

My mother had breast cancer at the age of 49; therefore, I received my first mammogram at the age of 32 as a baseline for future mammograms to detect breast tissue changes. Very important. At 39 I received a call to retake a mammogram I just had because of cell changes. It was a magnified image. The result of that turned into a needle located biopsy, the next step to find out why the cell changed. They told me at that time there was a 25% chance it could be cancer. 

I remember a January storm just passed and I headed to my business and was told I needed to call regarding my test results. Doing so all I heard was cancer. I went home scared and helpless to wait for the next step. This took me to talk to a surgeon. He advised a mastectomy. At that point I still didn’t know the type of breast cancer I had. After talking with friends, I headed for a second opinion. Mayo. An article in a magazine was brought to my attention and somewhat described my situation. I felt hopeful. I saw an internist because of the snowstorm , and I asked her what the name of the type of breast cancer I had. Intraductal carcinoma in situ multifocal. If I had to have breast cancer this one, I would have picked.It is basically confined in the milk ducts instead of tissue. The multi-focal meant I had more than one area to worry about. 

 

I ended up going back to Mayo, referred by another surgeon, because I never did see a breast cancer doctor and he thought maybe I could save the breast. I was very fortunate; I saw the head doctor of breast cancer. She recommended a mastectomy. She said get rid of the brush fire to prevent a forest fire. My life expectancy would be 90%.

I said goodbye to my naughty breast and put a new one in its place. I did not have to do chemo or radiation as my cancer stage was 0.

 

Breast cancer is not a death sentence. I have been cancer free for 25 years. I continue to do mammograms annually. 

Very Important.

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