Cancer does not run in Lucy Rios’ family, but when an annual routine exam in 2014 exposed a lump in one of her breasts, she found herself undergoing a year of treatment.
“That’s the weird thing…breast cancer can affect everybody,” said Rios, a Queens resident who has worked at New York Hair Salon in Throggs Neck on and off for a decade. “You don’t have to have it in your family. Normally it’s women, but men get it, too.”
Rios underwent chemotherapy treatment every month all summer in 2014, then that October, she started radiation therapy.
She now works part time at the salon, which has held an annual fundraiser each October to raise money for cancer research through the American Cancer Society.
This year, the salon fundraiser raised $1,100 for cancer research.
At this year’s event, held on Sunday, October 2, employees donated their time to give hair washes, cuts and blows, with all proceeds going directly to the American Cancer Society.
New York Hair Salon owner Victoria Rodan said she had seen Rios fight through cancer treatment and wanted to help her and other cancer patients survive the disease.
“People were very generous,” she said.
Rodan also said she was grateful to the local Applebee’s restaurant which donated food for the event, and the pink champagne donated by Country Club Wine and Liquor.
The salon also raised money by selling handmade chocolate-covered marshmallow pops. Donations will continue to be accepted at the salon throughout October, she added.
“You hope and pray you can make a difference in people’s lives,” Rodan said.
Unfortunately, Rios’s breast cancer returned this February, when she detected another lump.
This time, she said doctors at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens are are using hormonal treatment therapy to reduce the size of the tumor.
“I’m still fighting,” she said. “But there are so many ways to treat cancer now – we don’t get as scared when you hear cancer. It’s still scary, but not like before, when people said you had cancer and you thought you were going to die tomorrow.”
The American Cancer Society is holding its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks across the city on Sunday, October 16.
Rios said she plans to take part in the Queens walk, but there is also a Bronx walk slated for Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park.
Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the walk kicks off at 10 a.m.