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Breast cancer survivor celebrates recovery with cocktail party

To celebrate the one-year mark since her diagnosis, breast-cancer survivor Beth Allen Reilly did not want to thank her supporters in a Facebook post or with thank-you notes.

Reilly, who overcame health and family problems last year, decided to throw a pink-themed cocktail party at Chef Luis, 129 Elm St., March 28 to thank her friends, neighbors and family members who have supported her since her cancer diagnosis.

Reilly, 49, said her friends offered a great deal of support during her recovery.

"They brought me food, drove my kids around, visited me in the hospital, visited me at home, they gave me gifts," the New Canaan resident said.

Reilly said her diagnosis, double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery were "not terribly dramatic" thanks to an early detection. Her cancer was in stage 1.

"Because I was diagnosed very, very early, I didn't have to go through advanced treatment," Reilly said.

She said her radiologist, David Gruen at Stamford Hospital, "quite literally" saved her life with his proactive approach. She underwent the double mastectomy 10 weeks after an MRI showed a 2-millimeter shaded area on the left side of her breast.

"If I hadn't done it, it could have been years before the area got bigger and bigger," she said.

2013 "was a big year" for Reilly, and it wasn't just because she survived cancer. A mother of three school-age children, Reilly's divorce was final two days before her diagnosis. She also discovered her passion for cycling.

Reilly, who works as a personal trainer at 360 Fitness, 45 Grove St., credits her successful recovery to physical activity outside of her job.

"Cycling was a big part of my recovery," she said.

Reilly started cycling just before her diagnosis, and by July, she was riding about 250 miles a week. She said she plans to enter several regional cycling and triathlon events this year.

The cocktail party also raised money to benefit the Women's Breast Center at Stamford Hospital.

Being proactive is the most prudent approach to take when it comes to a cancer diagnosis, Reilly said. Read Full Article 

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, according to the American Cancer Society. This year, more than 232,000 women in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the organization.

"Today two out of three people diagnosed with cancer survive," Patrice Lestrange, of the American Cancer Society, said in a press release. "Our goal is to make that three out of three."

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson

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