She found a lump in her breast in August, and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
That whirlwind of illness and worry brought change to the lives of Vicki Hrovat, of Lawrence, her husband, John, and her two adult sons.
Now she has had to deal with surgery, losing her hair and chemotherapy treatments.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster. That is the best way to say it," said Hrovat, a business analyst at NCS Pearson. "I love roller coasters because of the thrill they give you, but this is not the same kind of thrill."
Lawrence Memorial Hospital's Breast Center and the medical community have provided care to Hrovat.
"They gave me a better picture of the situation. I was so fortunate to be able to get such qualified people to get me through it," she said.
Every year the Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer benefit helps fund the breast center. This year's 14th annual dance will be from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the Toyota Pavilion in the Crown Auto Plaza, 3400 S. Iowa.
The fundraiser has been at the Lawrence Holidome the last several years. The dealership's owner, Miles Schnaer, has had his employees move several cars to clear space for the dance.
"We're stepping up the Stepping Out dance, we're at a new and larger place," said Nancy Thellman, the event's co-chairwoman.
More about the dance
Thellman and co-chairwoman Cheri Thompson hope more than 600 people will attend. Volunteers have sold half the spots so far, Thellman said.
Last year's dance raised more than $53,000. The donations helped provide mammograms for uninsured and underinsured Douglas County patients. It also allowed staff to purchase more equipment and education materials about early detection of breast cancer.
Jodi Carlson, the breast center's clinical coordinator, said the fundraiser provides funds to help women who otherwise could not afford it.
Thellman said organizers hope to raise at least $50,000 Saturday through the $25 ticket sales and drawings for prizes, such as Kansas University basketball tickets, and gift baskets donated by doctors' offices, hospital departments and area businesses.
The Wichita band The Benders will provide entertainment and tunes from the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
The 75th Street Brewery, 3512 Clinton Parkway, raised $5,000 for the event a week ago when they served pink drinks and had a menu dedicated to breast cancer awareness.
The Stepping Out Against Breast Cancer benefit will be from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday at the Toyota Pavilion in the Crown Auto Plaza, 3400 S. Iowa. Tickets can be purchased at Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Assn.'s office, 330 Ark., Suite 200; Central National Bank inside Wal-Mart; the LMH gift shop, 325 Maine; and at Weaver's, 901 Mass. They also may be purchased at the door Saturday or by calling 840-3317.
To Thellman, the fundraiser provides a fun atmosphere and it also serves another purpose.
"On the serious side, it's one way that just about anyone can afford to donate some money that will go to a service through the hospital," she said.
Hrovat says she hopes to one day call herself a cancer survivor. She sees the LMH Breast Center as a vital support system.
"If we can help one woman to regularly help and examine herself on a monthly basis and to take the action, then we've done our job," she said. "If it touches more than that, hallelujah."