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Our foundation was created in honor of Tammy Dykstra. Tammy was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2011 at the age of 33. When she first found the cancerous mass it was a little larger than the size of a marble (approximately 2cm/almost 1inch). Her doctors determined that she had triple negative breast cancer (the most aggressive form) and by the time she started chemotherapy in mid-March it had more than doubled in size (approximately 5.5cm/more than 2inches). She received chemotherapy once a week for four weeks and then once every other week for 8 weeks. After her treatment sessions were complete she learned that the chemotherapy did not stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of her body. She was scheduled for a mastectomy and had the procedure on June 16th, 2011. She seemed to be recovering well the first few days, and then we noticed that she was getting weaker and weaker each day. She was given a blood transfusion, though it did not perk her up. Her balance was getting worse, she was no longer able to stand up by herself, she could not write, and she struggled with remembering things. On June 27th she was taken to the emergency room and we were told that she had 7 cancerous masses on her brain. The doctors told us she would not live long, hours, maybe days. She was given medications and we took her home. On June 30th we were back to the emergency room, she had an intense headache and needed relief. The doctors decided to do brain surgery to relieve the pressure the tumors were putting on her brain. She went into surgery on July 1st and little more than 2 hours after her surgery started, the neurosurgeon informed us that he was not only able to remove the fluid, but he was able to remove the 2 largest tumors. The next day she was sitting in her bed, smiling and talking with us as if nothing had happened, she just had a few “sore spots” on her head. As soon as she was discharged from the hospital she started daily radiation treatments to her brain. The radiation lasted 3 weeks and then she was ready to start another round of chemotherapy. While she was undergoing radiation treatments the mass from her breast was being studied and the research lab found a treatment that would kill her cancer. She started her first dosage of the new chemotherapy on August 1st, 2011. This round was much stronger and depleted her energy more than we had seen before. She had to miss her next scheduled treatment and have a blood transfusion instead. She responded well to the transfusion and was able to get her 2nd dose of chemotherapy on August 15th. Unfortunately, this round took its toll on her body. She was the weakest she had been, unable to move on her own, even struggling to hold a bottle of water. On August 29th her father took her in for another transfusion, though returned home, only to inform us that that her liver was failing. She lost her battle with cancer on August 30th, shortly after being set-up with Hospice services. She fought cancer with strength and grace. Despite the pain and suffering she endured, she always had a smile on her face and kept focusing on how she would help other women once she got better. She never complained about her situation, but often spoke of how her experience would one day help others. This foundation is her dream, and we are making it come true.
To help make Tammy's dream of helping women battle cancer come true, we raise money to help provide services to women going through treatment. Services they are otherwise unable to provide themselves: rides to and from appointments, light housecleaning, cooking, and more. One of the ways we help raise money is by hosting fun filled events. For information on upcoming events please visit our Tammy Dystra Foundation Events Page.
For pictures of our past events please check out our Tammy Dykstra Foundation Facebook Album