Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon

October 27, 2022

Apogee Employee Spotlight: Dana Ragsdale

By: Teresa de Onis

“I’ve always been a positive person and I surround myself with positive energy. So, when I heard that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I got very focused and created an environment full of positive energy.” – Dana Ragsdale, Apogee Manager of Project Operations (Employee Tenure: 5 years, 9 months)

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Apogee employee Dana Ragsdale offered to share her journey with breast cancer and the amazing support she has received from not only her family and friends, but the company and all her colleagues. 

“One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S.”

American Cancer Society

After noticing some changes to her breast, Dana contacted her doctors. Her instincts were correct. In February 2022, Dana became one of those women. She was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive breast cancer (IBC) / invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). She also learned her cancer tested positive for both the HER2-positive protein and the ER/PR-positive proteins.[1] These proteins promote the growth of cancer cells so now Dana, and her medical team, were armed with the information needed to attack the cancer.

Knowledge is power. Dana’s sister, Sherri, went through breast cancer treatments 17 years ago and was Dana’s best source for information and authentic support. Dana underwent six rounds of chemotherapy in March to shrink her tumor. In September, she underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction. During this surgery, her lymph nodes were biopsied, and she received more difficult news – the cancer had moved to her lymph nodes. She is currently undergoing both chemotherapy and radiation.

“Cancer has been a challenge, but it doesn’t define me. It has opened my eyes to life’s priorities and reminded me that time is valuable,” Dana commented. A self-described positive person, Dana’s optimistic outlook is helping her in her battle against cancer. She started an online journal, created a positive atmosphere in her home by decluttering and removing negative energy, and she relied on her family support system including her children, Kaelyn and Griffen, her sisters Sherri, Donna and Missy, and her niece Ruby.

Dana also mentions that her colleagues at Apogee are amazing! The company gave her time off to focus on her treatments and surgery. She continues to work remotely some of the time. Her direct reports hold down the fort and give her piece of mind that everything is handled. Her colleagues support her with prayers, words of support and encouragement, and care packages. Dana feels blessed to know that her support system spreads throughout Apogee nation.

Dana’s Top 10 Tips Even though Dana is still going through treatments, she wants to share some of her knowledge with others who will receive a cancer diagnosis. Here are her top 10 tips:

  1. Stay positive. Do what you need to do to remove negative energy around you and around your home.
  2. Rely on your support system. If you don’t have a strong one, find one through the many resources available to you: your doctor’s office, the hospital where you are receiving treatments, Susan G. Komen and American Cancer Society, or your local church.
  3. Knowledge is power; seek out resources for information and answers to your questions.
  4. Fighting cancer can be expensive. Ask your doctor or the cancer center if they know of resources for financial help.
  5. Keep a journal to document your good days and bad days. 
  6. Make memories! Lots of them! Have fun with your family and friends.
  7. Prioritize your life.
  8. Don’t forget to do monthly self-exams and watch for changes to your breasts and chest area. That goes for the guys, too!
  9. Schedule a mammogram annually and keep the appointment
  10. Never give up!

Dana plans to start volunteering at a cancer center to become an advocate for other cancer patients and help them in their fight. Which leads us to Dana’s bonus tip: Leave a legacy. “I have so much to be grateful for and I have learned that cancer isn’t Dana. Positive energy is Dana and I want to share my energy and knowledge with others!”

#FacesOfApogee


[1] ER-positive: Breast cancers that have estrogen receptors are called ER-positive (or ER+) cancers. PR-positive: Breast cancers with progesterone receptors are called PR-positive (or PR+) cancers. Source: American Cancer Society

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Teresa de Onis

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