In Search Of…Steppin’ Out in Pink 2014

A mother-daughter duo has twice the reason to walk

The phrase “like mother-like daughter” has never been more true then with Tricia Demmin and her mother Dee Powers. 

“She went to Viterbo College, I went to Viterbo college,” said Tricia. “She became a teacher and I became a teacher. So we have a lot of parallels in our lives.”

Living just 20 minutes apart, they see each other regularly and laugh often. It’s easy to see the love they have for one another.

“Mom has been the perfect mother. She is so kind and loving.”

The admiration is mutual. 

“She’s a very happy person and likes lots of fun,” said mom Dee. “If someone needs help, she’s the first one to say ‘I will help you.'”

But in 2010 neither of these women knew just how much they would need each other.

“Mom had gone in for a lumpectomy because she had a history of lumps.”

“I’ve had lots them. So when this lump was there I was not worried at all.”

But this time the tests came back cancerous. “I was dumbfounded. I was just numb and so surprised and shocked. I didn’t know what to do.”

When you are dealt with a life threatening diagnosis, the last thing you want to hear is the phrase, “like mother, like daughter.”

“She found her lump. Then I found mine,” said Tricia. “I will always remember that feeling. I was at school and I remember walking out in the hall and hearing that I had cancer and everything just disappeared. All of a sudden you’re faced with, I have something that could kill me and everything that I’ve worked for will be gone.”

Over the next few months, this mother/daughter duo fought their individual battles together. “It intertwined so much,” said Dee.  “I was thinking of myself, I was thinking about Tricia.”

“She had a biopsy and no cancer, mine had spread,” recalls Tricia. “She had a lumpectomy I had a mastectomy. She had radiation, I had radiation and chemotherapy. It reminded me of ‘anything you can do I can do worse!'”

Dee was the first to hear the words “cancer free.” And thankfully, once again, “like mother, like daughter.”  “We went through it together and I’ll cherish that.”

This year, Dee and Tricia will kick-off the Gundersen Medical Foundations 9th annual Steppin’ Out in Pink walk as the honorary co-chairs.  They walk for themselves, for each other and for the countless people who will have to walk the same road they already have.

“Every journey starts with the first step,” said Tricia. “Sometimes that first step is the hardest but you have to keep going.”

“learn to take life not so seriously and have fun along the way It’s a good ride,” Dee added.

“It’s been a very great and humbling honor to be asked to co-chair. I’m so glad mom and I are doing it together, because I can’t imagine it any other way.”

For more information on the walk or to register for Steppin’ Out in Pink, head to