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Survivor Story: Rita DeBarr

Posted by Pete Visintin on



Written by Rita DeBarr

Contributed by Ashley Mitts


I (Rita) have been diabetic for 41 years and have struggled with my diabetes since I was 11 years old.  It was very hard to keep my sugars under control as a child.  Things sure have changed over the years. 

Now, I have an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor which has really helped me manage my sugar levels.  At the age of 42, I had a heart attack.  After my first surgery, I had to go back 5 more times for a total of 6 stents. 

I became very anxious about doing anything; afraid that I may have a heart attack.  My anxiety has always been something that I have always had and worked with. 

In March 2014, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma).  I had a clear mammogram in November 2013, but by January 2014, I started seeing changes in my breast.  

I had another mammogram in February and was told it looked "very suspicious."  I then had a biopsy and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  After that I started chemotherapy and did 6 chemo’s 3 weeks apart. 

This made me very sick.  I couldn’t eat or keep anything down.  It had me very down.  After I recovered from chemo, I had to have a mastectomy. 

Right now, I’m started radiation.  One thing I’ve learned from this is it is a learning experience.  I trust God will get me through this.  I believe you have to have a lot of faith to get through these challenges.  I do have a lot of support from my family and friends.  


They have been truly amazing through this experience.  I’ve also learned that everyone has a story.  Although it may not be the same as mine, we each have our own unique story that makes it our own.  

I believe that is important to share our stories.  I also believe we learn from each other, and I’ve met some great people.  I’ve been there for others when it has come to questions about diabetes, and now others have been there for me when I was struggling with my cancer. 

I believe we learn from each other, and I have some great people to teach me about the importance of helping and supporting others.  

If you have any questions or need anything, please let me know!



50% of the profit from all Fight the Fight purchases made from January 11th, 2015 through January 31st, 2015 will be donated to Rita to help cover her medical expenses.


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