Race for the Cure: Holly Shiverdecker is bravely battling breast cancer

Holly's story
Holly and Ryan
Holly and Ryan

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Like so many others, 40-year-oldmother of two Holly Shiverdecker had her life change overnight with a cancerdiagnosis no one saw coming.

"I was kind of a taken aback whenshe called and [I] said, 'Me? I have breast cancer?'" Holly recalled. "'Nothat's not suppose to happen. I do everything the way I'm supposed to.'"

Holly discovered the lump during aself breast exam, but with no family history, the Shiverdeckers were certain itwould come back benign. It didn't.

Holly's diagnosis of stage one invasiveductal carcinoma came less than six months after a clean mammogram.

"As a husband, you don't reallyknow what to do," Ryan Shiverdecker said. "I can't go in there andfight the cancer for her."

"Sometimes it's justoverwhelming, I just want to cry," Holly said while fighting back tears.

But it's not the cancer that getsHolly emotional, it's the support.

"We're the ones that buy t-shirtsfor people's fundraisers, and go to their spaghetti dinners and donate to theirfamily," Holly said. "And to have everyone doing that for us, it's just veryhumbling."

"We have a reallygood support system in place," Ryan added. "That's probably been thebest thing that's come out of all of this."

Part of that supportsystem is the principal at Anthony Wayne High School where Ryan is a teacher.Jeri Hoellrich battled and beat breast cancer.

"I wanted to knowfrom her perspective what it is her husband did during her cancer treatmentthat she thought was good, and then other things that she did not find helpfulso I could learn from that," Ryan said.

Holly's mom Betty has alsobeen a big help to the couple, trying to keep life as normal as possible fortheir two kids, 11-year-old Wyatt and 6-year-old Ryleigh.

"When something likethis happens to your family, to see everyone come and want to do something,whether it's just come and do your dishes for you so you can rest an extra halfhour or pick up your kids," Holly explained.

Holly has a great sense ofhumor. She has a collection of inspiring and funny shirts she wears to herchemo treatments every other week. And she used Toledo's water crisis to debuther bald head on Facebook.

The Shiverdeckers havenever been to the Race for the Cure before.

"I am really lookingforward to it," Holly said. "All the smiles [are] just going to help.A smile and a hug makes a world of difference. It really does."

"I just think all thepositive energy, and to see all the people who are going through this, havewent through this," Betty said. "Obviously you want to see all thesurvivors and how they've made it. She still has a couple bad days ahead, so I'msure that will help her."

And there may still be baddays ahead for Holly, but you don't have to look any further than the back ofher team shirts, where it boldly says, "She's got this," to know howthis story will end.

"We've always justkind of had in our heads she's gonna beat this," Ryan said. "So fromday one it's kind of been, 'She's got this.' And the support around that's beenhuge."

"There's no other option,"Betty added. "We're going to beat this. There's no other option."

"I am. I am going toget this," Holly said. "I'm going to rip it to shreds and throw itbehind me, and move on with life."

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