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Cancer Survivor: Gillian's Story

Don't Put Yourself at the Bottom of the List

picture of Gillian

Gillian DuVall’s life turned upside down last summer when she found out she had breast cancer.

The business owner and mother of four was visiting Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (LHAAMC) to refill a prescription when she decided to go to the breast center and schedule a mammogram – something she had been putting off for over a year. With so much going on with family and work, her appointments often fell to the bottom of the list.

“It often goes unsaid that mothers are running a three-ring circus 24 hours a day,” she says.

During her appointment, Gillian was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. “The first three weeks after being diagnosed are like nothing else you’ve ever experienced,” she says. “You have to drop everything.”

She credits Nurse Navigator Judy Davis as her saving grace. “Judy was there for me…she was my advocate. She kept me from losing my mind,” Gillian says.

Nurse navigators are assigned to patients at the cancer center to offer a comforting and consistent presence during a stressful time. The cancer center has several nurse navigators on staff to help patients with appointments, treatment plans, and recommendations from providers. All of this support is free to patients.

After experiencing first-hand how important nurse navigators are, Gillian decided to get involved with Fish for a Cure, a local fishing tournament that raises funds for the cancer survivorship program at LHAAMC.

“It’s because of Fish for a Cure that the cancer center is able to have nurse navigators, and I know there are people who would not be able to navigate treatment without that support,” Gillian says.

To show her gratitude, Gillian’s business, Annapolis Pillow Company, created a Fish for a Cure pillow, available in indoor and outdoor fabric with two design options. The company will donate 35% of profits from the pillows to the Reel Counsel Team, one of the boats participating in the 2021 event.

To schedule a mammogram, please click here or call 1-888-909-9729.