Member Spotlights: Jet Mitchell & Erica Raley

LVAC member- Jet Mitchell

Since moving here over 20 years ago, Jet Mitchell considers Las Vegas her true home. Jet received an MBA from the University of Texas, Arlington, and J.D. from Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While she currently holds a license to practice law in Nevada, she has chosen instead to be “Professor Jet” at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) teaching business management, marketing and small business management.

Jet was diagnosed with Stage IIIB breast cancer and wants everyone to know that even with a late stage diagnosis, there is both treatment and help. She advises women to receive a diagnosis and treatment right away. After her diagnosis, she had a head shave party at the start of her chemotherapy treatments (photo featured in the Fall issue of 2015 LVAC Magazine). Jet said, “The people I had around me were positive and believed in me and my recovery. While I was going through intense chemo treatments and aggressive radiation, the support I received from so many people was humbling. No one should face breast cancer treatments alone, which is why I believe that support from survivors is critical. The people who were by my side were my heroes, and they stood by me every step of the way. Their strength and support was stronger than any diagnosis or disease.” Jet also counseled, “If your support network is light, join a local active support group, one with physical activity, to support you emotionally and to keep you moving. Activity and movement are key during and after treatments.”

Jet was no stranger to exercise, as she had been an avid runner for years. “I had no idea how important of a role LVAC would play in my treatment and health through and after cancer. While completely bald, and after my double mastectomy surgery and after each aggressive chemotherapy treatment, I ran the LVAC Green Valley track. The smiles and support from the employees, the trainers, and those working out was overwhelming.”

“I finished the Las Vegas Half Marathon three days after my final chemotherapy treatment. It was not my first half marathon (I think I have finished about 70 half marathons), but it is the only one I ran while completely bald, and one I will never forget. “I have run a half marathon in all 50 states, but the one I ran at home in Vegas, after my last chemo treatment in November 2015, will always be remembered.”

“I am happy I have a chance to thank my LVAC family for their support. A double mastectomy surgery, aggressive chemo and radiation treatments can be overwhelming. Being bald can feel awkward. Staying active and running made me feel good, even on days when feeling good seemed unlikely. Every word of encouragement meant so much, and continues to empower me. Thank You!”

LVAC member - Erica RaleyLas Vegas native Erica Raley has been an LVAC member for over 20 years. For the last two years, she has taken first place in the survivor category at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®. Celebrating her win in this year’s 5K held great significance for her. Erica is now a ‘five-year cancer free’ survivor.

“I would like to tell all cancer survivors to never, never, ever give up! Together, we will beat this disease.”

Erica was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments. “I had a wonderful team of doctors at Comprehensive Cancer Center of Nevada”, she related. “Today I enjoy being a volunteer for the American Cancer society and working with other women who have received a diagnosis of breast cancer. I am so grateful for all of the support I received while going through initial diagnosis and the treatment. First, I want to thank God for always being there for me. I am truly blessed. I also want to thank my Aunt Phyllis. She has been by my side through all the ups and downs of life. I love you Aunt Phyllis, you are my angel. My boyfriend Michael has always given me strength and support. He is absolutely the best. Mi Amore!” Erica graduated with a B.A. degree from UNLV, and completed a master’s degree in educational counseling. She currently works for the Health & Human Services of the State of Nevada, in the Child and Family services division. She has a twenty-year-old daughter-an aspiring artist who lives in Seattle. “My daughter is the center of my universe”, says Erica.

“I love to run, and during my treatment, working out at LVAC became a priority. Exercise was such an important part of my road to recovery. I truly appreciated LVAC’s friendly staff, the variety of group fitness classes I could choose from and all of the exercise options I had.”