Whitney Place Assisted Living and Memory Care at Sharon celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month by honoring their Recreation Director, Allison Karsay, who has been cancer-free for over a year.
Residents and staff members celebrated last week, ending with a “Power of Pink” day on Friday, October 23. Residents and staff members were encouraged to wear pink and put a pink strip of temporary pink dye in their hair. In an effort to raise money, Residents and staff members also had the opportunity to purchase paper pink ribbons and write notes of inspiration to share.
In total, the Whitney Place at Sharon community raised $450. Most importantly, the money was donated to the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Breast Cancer Association in Karsay’s name. Tapestry Program Director, Shannon Bateman, explains that all of the Residents and staff members “really wanted to rally with Allison and support her and others affected by breast cancer.”
“It was a lot of fun; we were able to create Breast Cancer Awareness games, and the Residents were really involved,” says Karsay. “One Resident who had dyed her hair pink doesn’t want to wash it out!”
Karsay, a Sharon native, recalls the multiple tests she went through over a year and a half ago. “I had two lumps on my left and right sides; originally doctors thought I had cysts,” explains Karsay. “They wanted to focus on the right lump, but I had another doctor tell me that I needed to get an MRI for both sides.”
“Thank goodness I did,” says Karsay. “Eventually it was determined that my right-side lump was categorized as stage one, and my left-side was stage one-two. It was caught early.”
Afterwards, Karsay underwent surgery and post-operation tests in August 2019, successfully eradicating the cancer and discovering that the cancer hadn’t spread. Around the same time, both Karsay’s mother and aunt were diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, Karsay’s aunt passed away, but her mother was able to beat it through chemotherapy.
“It is so important to take the necessary precautions and advocate for yourself when something isn’t right,” advises Karsay. “Breast cancer is genetic—if it runs in your family, please get the appropriate tests done.”
After a successful surgery, Karsay also underwent radiation. “I was still working!” she exclaims. “Radiation took about five weeks; I went to work, left during the day to go to the Dana Farber Cancer Center on the South Shore and then returned to work.”
“I didn’t want to tell the Residents and have them worry,” explains Karsay; “We’re a very tight-knit community here in Sharon—and besides, I don’t think I’ve spent more than four days away from the Residents. They’re truly my extended family.”
“The support I received last year and still do is just incredible,” concludes Karsay. “I’m very lucky.”
To learn more about breast cancer awareness, please visit https://www.cancer.org/about-us/local/massachusetts.html.
Since 1952, SALMON Health and Retirement has been serving Central Massachusetts. SALMON’s Beaumont at Worcester community became the nation’s first COVID-19 recovery center for seniors. To learn more about SALMON’s continuum of care with services on multiple campuses and the way in which the organization is fighting COVID-19 head-on, visit www.SalmonHealth.com or call (781)-784-0111.