The Bosom Buddies Relay For Life team is more than just a team of co-workers or friends - they are a special group of woman who all have one thing in common - every one of them is a breast cancer survivor.
Bosom Buddies, formerly named Silver Bullets, formed more than 15 years ago as part of the Relay For Life of Williamsport. The 12 team members met each other through a breast cancer survivor support group.
Candy Schneider joined the team in March 2010, only about two months following her cancer diagnosis.
Shown are Bosom Buddies RFL team members Jackie Kinney, left, and Candy Schneider.
Shown is team member Christa Stimpson at the 2013 Relay For Life event.
She said she was having pain in her left breast and kept getting signs that she should see a doctor - a billboard about breast cancer, a line in a book about the same topic - after a visit with her doctor, a mammogram revealed something suspicious.
On Feb. 9, 2010, she had surgery, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and one year of targeted chemo.
"I joined a breast cancer (support) group in February 2010 and found such wonderful friends in these women," Schneider said. "I never knew what Relay For Life was until I joined. It is a good feeling being at this event and seeing the people of this community together to do amazing things."
Team member Evoyn Snook joined Bosom Buddies, unofficially, when she helped to make and sell soup at one of the team's fundraisers last fall. She officially registered with the team in January, one year after she was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer.
"It was an unbelievable moment of shock," Snook said. "I got the news over the telephone while I was at work. I just broke down. Luckily, my co-workers were aware of what was going on and cried right along with me."
Snook endured a variety of tests - biopsies, MRIs, PET scans - and found out she had a large 5 centimeter tumor in her breast. A local doctor told her she could try chemo to shrink the tumor and then have a lumpectomy, but something just didn't seem right to Snook, so she decided to get a second opinion. The surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital told her that the type of cancer she had would not respond to chemo and she needed to have a mastectomy.
Following her surgery, a review of the mammogram and MRI of her remaining breast called for concern and she ended up having another surgery to have pre-cancerous cells removed. She now has reconstructive surgery scheduled for May 9.
"I am a spiritual person who believes everything happens for a reason," Snook said.
Joining the Bosom Buddies team not only gave the women support, but also hope for a cure for breast cancer as well as other cancers.
"I joined the team because I wanted to make a difference. I want to get a cure for cancer," Schneider said. "I love being on this team because of the support that we give each other and the dedication we have in raising money for Relay For Life. I feel very proud of my team for the work we do in raising money for such a great cause."
A few of the fundraisers the team has held over the past year, are a soup and bake sale, a Vera Bradley and Yankee Candle bingo, a Yankee Candle sale and calendars that reveal a different donation amount each day.
"The ladies I have met (through the support group) are wonderful and great support," Snook said. "They give me hope for a cancer-free future, which is so important. I love those women with all my heart. We give each other strength."
The Bosom Buddies gather many times throughout the year, whether it be at support group, or at a fundraiser for their team - but the Relay event is one of the most fun and touching times for the women.
"Relay is such a wonderful and emotional experience. To see all these people come together to raise the money needed to help people with cancer is an awesome sight," Schneider said. "I love the survivor lap and the caregiver lap. I love when we light the luminaries to light the track up in honor and memory of loved ones. Actually, I love every minute of this event!"