Komen Nebraska presents “My Journey” – real stories about Nebraskans working together to defeat breast cancer.
‘I Walk Because I Can’
Diana Busche’s first Susan G. Komen® 3-Day for the Cure® race almost never happened.
Playing softball three weeks before the 2008 event, Diana slid into third base, sprained an ankle and was sidelined by doctor’s orders for a month. Diana, however, was determined to walk in the event.
“I’m loyal and passionate,” says Diana, who finished the Komen 3-Day for the Cure event despite a weak ankle. “If I care about something, I put 110 percent behind it.”
“I walk to make a difference”
Diana is a staunch Komen supporter. She has raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer programs, completed five 60-mile walks, volunteered annually with the Susan G. Komen Nebraska Race for the Cure® and is a member of Komen Nebraska’s I AM THE CURE®, which trains cheerleaders, coaches and others to talk about breast health.
A 1996 Fremont High School graduate, Diana attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2012, she completed her bachelor’s at Nebraska Wesleyan, earning a degree in business administration, human resources and communications. She is office manager at Bland & Associates, an Omaha CPA firm where each year she tries to sign up about half the office of 43 people to participate in Komen activities.
“People ask me why I walk,” Diana says. “I tell them, ‘I walk because I can, and I walk to make a difference.’”
With each step of the way, Diana has gained new friends and new reasons to continue her volunteer work. In 2007, for example, Diana met Catherine “Cat” Borell during a Komen 3-Day event in Minneapolis. Engaging and interesting, Cat was battling breast cancer and inspired Diana to join her team: the “Cat Walking Soul Sisters.” Annually, the group has raised $60,000 to $75,000 in Komen 3-Day events, which involve 60-mile walks.
“There are times when I’ve raised $5,000 for just one event,” Diana says. “It’s very attainable.”
Sadly, Cat died two years ago, leaving an 11-year-old son. Janet, the wife of one of the founders of Bland & Associates and an encouraging Komen supporter, battled breast cancer and passed away. So did Linda, a close family friend who was like a second mother to Diana. The memories of these women, and others, inspire Diana to continue raising money to help find a cure for breast cancer.
Linda passed away in 2007, having fought breast cancer three times. The night before she died, Diana had a pink ribbon tattooed to her wrist. The ribbon wraps around an tattoo of her initials, DLB. (Diana’s middle name is Lynn) Last summer, Diana added a third tattoo element, a pair of angel’s wings.
Today, Diana still “talks” to Linda. “I visit her grave regularly,” she says, “and when I do, I’ll ask her how she’s doing.”
“I’ll leave a legacy for your children”
Diana serves on Komen Nebraska’s I AM THE CURE committee. I AM THE CURE promotes breast cancer awareness, especially among high schoolers.
“We do a lot of email communication with students and coaches to recruit them to be supporters,” she says. “We work with cheerleaders at schools in Fremont, Omaha, Council Bluffs and Plattsmouth.”
I AM THE CURE speaks to the importance of early detection. It urges people to make a “Curemitment” – a commitment or promise to take steps that may reduce breast cancer risk. The steps include visiting the doctor, getting screened, knowing your body and making healthy lifestyle choices.
“I may be just one person, but that’s what this is about — I am the cure,” Diana says. “One person getting involved can make a huge difference, and I’m seeing a difference. We’re helping people see the great value of doing their self-exams, visiting their doctor, learning their family medical history.”
She adds: “I love seeing the girls [high school cheerleaders] get excited to do their work [promoting breast health awareness]. You see it on their faces. They enjoy educating people. That’s joy for me.”
Young people inspire Diana to keep working hard to promote breast health education. “I probably won’t have children,” she says. “But, I’ll leave a legacy for your children.”
“I wish we had a world without breast cancer”
Every year, Diana organizes the Race for the Cure participation where she works. She enters a team, organizes a team page at komengreatplai.wpengine.com and helps solicit donations.
“The research keeps me going and so do the people I meet,” Diana says. “I like hearing their stories. I like learning why people walk. I wish we had a world without breast cancer. Hopefully, that will come one day soon.”
Diana Busche serves on Komen Nebraska’s I AM THE CURE.® committee, which promotes breast health education. The goal is “Curemitment,” a commitment or personal promise to take steps that may lead to reduced breast cancer risk.
Diana’s wrist tattoo features her initials, with Lynn being her middle name. Later, she added a pink ribbon, followed by an angel’s wings.
In 2012, Diana (right) and her sister Gretchen pause during a Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® event in Chicago. Diana has participated in five Komen 3-Day for the Cure events, which require participants to complete 60 miles.
In honor of Catherine “Cat” Borell who died of breast cancer, the “Cat Walking Soul Sisters” have raised up to $75,000 in annual contributions in each of five, Komen 3-Day events. Bottom row (l to r): Heidi Miller, Komen 3-Day spokeswoman Dr. Sheri Phillips, Robin Trombetta. Second row (l to r): Vanessa Rients, Diana Busche. Third row (l to r): Lisa Hawkinson, Stacey Matthees. Top: Kristina Rients.