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(Photo courtesy: Susan G. Komen San Diego )

Susan G. Komen San Diego 2019 Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor Calls on San Diegans to Get Screened

Linda Welby, Stage III Patient, aims to empower and educate San Diegan women about the importance of annual mammograms and self-compassion

San Diego CA Susan G. Komen® San Diego (Komen San Diego) announced Point Loma resident and former Mighty 1090AM radio host, Linda Welby, as the 2019 Race for the Cure® Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor.  As the organization’s spokesperson through the 23rd Annual Race for the Cure on Sunday, Nov. 3, Welby credits her survival to her doctors, treatments developed by Komen-funded research, her quietly determined mindset and the unwavering support of her husband, children, radio station, fans and friends.

Before getting her cancer diagnosis, Welby had not gotten a mammogram in the past five years. After her life-changing diagnosis, she has made it her mission to encourage countless family members, friends and listeners to get annual mammograms. To help raise awareness, Welby is using her platform by starting a YouTube channel to discuss the factors that contributed to her diagnosis, local resources for treatment and care, as well as interviews with Padres players regarding how breast cancer has personally affected them. Because of Welby’s incredible strength and determination in raising awareness for breast cancer, she is helping to save lives.

“I was not getting regular mammograms, and I want my story to inspire as many women as possible to get screened,” said Welby. “You must be your own advocate. Your life is too important not to.”

On Independence Day weekend 2018, Welby felt a lump on her left breast and had a strong gut feeling it would be a cancer diagnosis. A mammography and ultrasound confirmed her suspicions: she had aggressive, Stage III, breast cancer.

After learning about her diagnosis, Welby’s co-workers Scott Kaplan, John Browner, and her sports radio family were determined to show Linda their support. They chose to build a Race for the Cure team in her honor and raised over $20,000 for Komen San Diego.

Welby accepted surgery as her treatment option, but wanted to avoid chemotherapy at all costs. She was afraid of chemotherapy because she did not want to look like a “sick cancer patient in front of the ones she loved.” The former Mighty 1090AM radio host ultimately wanted to maintain her image of being a strong, powerful woman. Throughout the treatment process, Welby felt guilty about her bad days. As a mother of two and a public figure, she thought she had to constantly be strong every day for others. However, she finally realized that true strength is being vulnerable, being gentle and loving with yourself, and staying positive—even when you are staring death in the face.

Dr. Cheryl Olsen at Scripps-La Jolla removed Welby’s tumor, but due to the severity of her condition, she did have to undergo 12 weeks of chemotherapy under the direction of Dr. Sabina Wallach. The treatment drugs used were Taxotere and Tamoxifen, both developed by Susan G. Komen research funding.

Since its inception in 1995, Susan G. Komen San Diego has invested more than $19 million in global breast cancer research and local breast health services.  Keeping those dollars in the community, much of that investment has been awarded to scientists and research institutions in San Diego. Next to the U.S. government, Susan G. Komen is the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research in the world.

“Without this medication, I would not be able to watch my kids go to college,” said Welby. “I would not be able to share another moment with my husband. Without this medication, I would not be alive today.”

Now, Linda has been in remission for two months. After her diagnosis, Linda was told she has dense breasts. Studies have found women with high breast density have four to five times higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with low breast density. Unfortunately, there are no standard screening guidelines for women with dense breasts, but in 2011, Komen San Diego helped pass a law in California requiring doctors to send a letter notifying patients after their mammogram if they have dense breasts. If a patient receives this notification, they should speak with their medical providers about other types of breast imaging and screening tests.

Susan G. Komen® believes everyone should have access to regular screening mammograms when they and their health care providers decide it is best based on their personal risk of breast cancer. In addition, screenings should be covered by insurance companies, government programs and other third-party payers. 

“Linda Welby’s gentle tenacity is something we all should incorporate into our lives,” said Shaina Gross President & CEO, Susan G. Komen San Diego. “Her efforts to help raise over $20,000 has helped hundreds of women and families, and we are honored to be a part of her story.”

The 23rd annual Race for the Cure on Sunday, November 3, is a great opportunity for those in the San Diego community to contribute to Komen San Diego’s efforts to identify gaps in breast cancer care, and address barriers to breast health access. Event details are included below. To learn more about fundraising with Race for the Cure, visit komensandiego.org/walk/fundraise.

Event Details

  • Event: Susan G. Komen® San Diego’s 23rd Annual Race for the Cure® – The walk to end breast cancer
  • Date: Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019
  • Time: 6:30 a.m. Expo opens |7:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony | 8:00 a.m. Start | 10:30 a.m. End
  • Location: Balboa Park; Start: 6th Ave. at Palm St.
  • Registration/Website: KomenSanDiego.org/Walk