RICHMOND, Va. — Every bit of TV news is all about connecting.
More than you might think.
Two co-workers work two different shifts but share a forever connection. Breast cancer.
“Everyone said, ‘Have you talked to Yvonne? Do you know Yvonne?” said Tara Daudani, an associate producer with Virginia This Morning.
“She’s in the morning. I’m in the evening,” WTVR audio operator Yvonne Libron said.
“It’s always nice to hear someone who’s been through it and has made it to the other side,” Daudani said
Before Tara Daudani and Yvonne Libron connect face to face, first you have to know their stories.
“I called it the year of the Tara,” Daudani said.
The year 2018 saw Daudani break new ground by running the Monument Avenue 10K for the first time.
But she also went back to her roots. She returned to a job in TV news for the first time in six years.
“It certainly changed. It’s not how I thought the year was going to go,” Daudani said.
In August, the 37-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer. She discovered the tumor after putting on a sports bra.
“It felt funny to me. Something inside of me said I need to get this checked out. Sooner rather than later,” Daudani said.
A mammogram and ultrasound confirmed what she dreaded.
“Am I going to die? Am I going to die? Is my 2-year-old going to grow up to be old enough to remember me?” Daudani asked.
Playtime with her two daughters keeps life normal, but even their young eyes can see the obvious. Daudani remembers the difficult talk.
“Mommy is going to get some medicine that’s going to make her hair fall out because that’s really physically the most jarring thing about this. It was really hard for me to look in the mirror because I looked sick,” Daudani said.
Through the rounds of chemotherapy, Daudani’s workload never slowed down and life didn’t stop for Yvonne either.
Five years ago, it was supposed to Yvonne’s year too, until breast cancer.
“Everything in my spirit was like ‘oh, you’re fighting,’” Libron said.
And she did with three surgeries, chemo and radiation.
“I’m just ready to live life every day,” Libron said.
It’s those positive words Yvonne wants to pass on to Tara in person when they finally met at the CBS 6 studio.
Tara and Yvonne’s connection goes deeper. Both are in their 30’s. Both found their own tumor and have no family history of breast cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 12,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr. Mary Helen Hackney at VCU Medical Center says women ages 50 to 70 years old is the highest risk age group of getting breast cancer.
Like most women diagnosed under 40, the cancer is more aggressive. Daudani was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer. Libron’s diagnosis was with Stage 3 HER 2 positive.
Dr. Hackney said it’s a small number of cases for women under 40 with breast cancer, but their cancer is often more aggressive, and their breasts are more dense. She says it’s important for women to do their own breast self-exams.
“If you find something that’s different. Bring it to the attention of a physician,” Dr. Hackney said.
Breast screenings are recommended for women over 40 if there’s no family history of breast cancer.
“If (doctors) say you’re not old enough then go get another opinion because you know your body. You know it’s changing,” Dr. Hackney said.
Dr. Hackney also stresses a young woman may not want to do a breast exam during her menstrual cycle.
“So, a young woman may need to wait until she’s through her mensies and then get another exam to see if things have changed,” Dr. Hackney said.
For Daudani and Libron, they’re taking on this journey and treasuring the connections they’ve made along the way.