Check out our AMAZING fighter Volunteer Spotlight Ashley Ferlauto with Magnolia Living Real Estate at RE/MAX Executive! She tells her story with breast cancer along with her experience working with Go Jen Go!
Written by: Allison Parker
Ashley Ferlauto is a courageous young womanas well as a dedicated real estate agent. As a Leading Edge NC Broker and real estate agent with RE/MAX with the Magnolia Living team, Ashley worked tirelessly at her job and maintaining her health. In 2018, her team was recognized as a team of excellence within RE/MAX and became a part of the Platinum Club Team recognition group. It’s hard to believe just a few years back she faced one of the biggest challenges in her life.
“I don’t have any family history of Breast Cancer,” shares Ashley. “So in June 2015, at age 35, when I felt something abnormal near my sternum, I was slow to react. I’ve never been sick with anything and let’s face it, we all feel immortal the majority of our lives. I was living the organic/ hormone-free food life and worked out frequently. I even was part of the ‘eliminate sugar from your diet to prevent cancer’ fad!
“I reluctantly went to my doctor, who sent me to the radiologist. The radiologist had a hard time finding what I was pointing out, so I still was reluctant to go to the needle biopsy appointment they scheduled for the next day. In my mind, there’s nothing worse than wasting time sitting on I-77 for an early morning appointment that would amount to a doctor telling me to check back in when I was 40 for a mammogram!”
Luckily Ashley kept the appointment. However, the news was not the best to hear. “When the doctor told us that I had stage 3a invasive breast cancer, I still didn’t think it was real life. I’m too young! My cancer was hormone-fueled and had taken about six months to go from dormant cancer cells to an invading stage 3 disease, thanks to birth control pills to control my hormones. If I hadn’t had followed through with the exams, it never would have been discovered until I probably got really sick and died a few months later. Real talk.”
Dealing with a diagnosis like this is difficult. Ashley shared a few key items to keep your sanity, humor, and wits about you during treatment.
Here’s her advice, in her own words:
1. Do a few shots of Patron on the way home from the doctor’s office to commemorate the weirdest/worst news of your life.
2. Be real with everyone. People around you want to help; let them.
3. It’s ok to have bad days. Give yourself a time limit to feel sorry for yourself; otherwise, you will stay in that place for a while.
4. Losing your hair, your strength, your femininity, your pride, and control over your life will radically and humbly change the way you see the world. It is one of the most incredible gifts you can ever be given.
Through the treatment process of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and radiation, Ashley found herself with a sticker shock over the medical bills that go along with treatment. “I was floored when the medical bills came in and saw the costs of everything. $14k for ONE chemo treatment?! I had insurance, but what if I didn’t?! My heart broke for all the patients that were fighting for their lives with this massive added burden. When I brought this up in a support group, someone mentioned the organization Go Jen Go!, and I was so relieved that something like it existed. I want to help local patients, too, and supporting Go Jen Go! is the best way I know how.”
Ashley’s team at RE/MAX Magnolia Living ran a fundraiser last year and featured personal video stories of breast cancer patients/women in the community. One of the women ended up being a recipient of Go Jen Go!. Ashley shares, “It was full circle for her to be able to thank Susan Spears (present while shooting the videos) for the help. It was definitely a tissue moment.”
The Go Jen Go! (GJG) Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides critical monetary assistance
to local individuals and families who are battling breast cancer. The group provides aid during diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. “Depending on your cancer type, your treatment plan may just make you tired, or it may debilitate you,” explains Ashley. “Patients that can’t work are more likely not to be able to afford to celebrate holidays the way most of us do. GJG provides holiday dinners and presents for the whole family! They also help with day-to-day costs, like paying rent, groceries, bills, etc. Events to raise funds include yearly 5k called Run Jen Run in March, plus other runs as well as yearly tailgate event in October called Cheers Jen Cheers along with other beer/margarita socials.”
For more information on Go Jen Go!, please visit https://gojengo.org/. To reach Ashley Ferlauto of Magnolia Living, RE/MAX Leading Edge, please call her cell at 980-333-8085.