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Breast cancer survivors "Party for a Purpose" at Key to the Cure

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Elyse Black is one of the 10 cancer survivors featured in the campaign for this year's Key the Cure event.

We asked her what it felt like when she first found out she had breast cancer.

"That's a hard question to answer. It was devastating," Black said. "I've been a nurse for 35 years, and I have no family history. I've treated lots of people, but you don't ever think it's going to happen to you, until it does."

Black had a bilateral mastectomy, seven rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.

"Nine years later, I am the face of breast cancer,' Black said. "I am strong. I am on a dragon boat team here in Sarasota. To get that diagnosis and be where I am today. It's okay.

Amanda Gorski was only 26 when she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. She was also featured in the campaign and said she found a sisterhood in these women.

"We got to meet other survivors (with) similar and different stories, but all meeting at the core of what bonds us and it's quite special," Gorski said.

Board Certified plastic surgeon Alissa Shulman, MD, FACS and her husband are the honorary co-chairs of this year's Key to the Cure event.

"We're actually not just making this a fundraising party event but really a chance to showcase how wonderful Sarasota is as a medical community, especially if you have breast cancer," Shulman said.

Dr. Shulman said Key to the Cure only makes the world-class women's cancer care available in Sarasota even better, especially for those who can't afford it.

"The funds stay local," Shulman said. "Most of them are to mammograms, and other screening, some of them go to something near and dear to my heart, which is breast reconstruction. Patients who don't have insurance, don't have access, are able to get breast reconstruction, you shouldn't have to leave for that."