A Central Kentucky woman's victory over breast cancer is being told nationwide through products at Kroger stores.
Lisa Roach, pricing coordinator at the Kroger on Bellerive Boulevard off Harrodsburg Road in Jessamine County, is being profiled with other employees nationwide as part of the chain's Giving Hope a Hand program. In Kroger's 2,500 stores, Roach's picture and story will appear on packages of Totino's pizza, Green Giant broccoli and Pillsbury Toaster Strudel. All of the products sport special pink tags and packaging and refer customers to learn more at Sharingcourage.com.
A portion of the sale of each product will go toward fighting breast cancer. Kroger spokesman Tim McGurk said the program is expected to generate $3 million company wide and will finance local initiatives in each community. Local organizations that have benefited in the past include the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, various Susan G. Komen for the Cure events and the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Walk, he said.
"I just hope seeing the pink around the store will make women check in the evening and make sure there are no lumps," Roach said.
Roach found one while bathing one Friday evening in October last year. While she hung breast cancer awareness tags at the grocery all weekend, she worried about what she had found and went to the doctor on Monday. She was diagnosed later in the month.
"When we first found out that I had breast cancer, ... everyone at work threw a surprise party for me at a restaurant," she said. "I got there and half of the store was there.
"It was just so amazing to know that I had that kind of support."
Roach continued working during the ordeal, missing only 10 days of work, she said.
"I had all these people here — customers and employees — to help me through it," she said. "Even if I woke up and I felt bad, I wanted to drag myself into work just so I could see everybody and be around everybody.
"If I had to stay home and just feel sorry for myself, I feel like it would have been that much tougher. It was a motivation to come in and be around people."
She finished her final treatments in May and has counseled her niece, who was also diagnosed and finished treatments recently.
She said, "I gave her the same advice I gave myself: Stay strong."