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Coaching Instincts Kick in for Breast Cancer Survivor

August 13, 2019

Whether it’s a volleyball game or chemotherapy, Ashley Gorney meets every challenge with optimism and determination.

That gives her an advantage in her fight against breast cancer, according to her care team at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. It also earned her the honor of serving as the Coca-Cola Coin Toss Captain at the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sunday, October 23.

A mother of 2, Spanish teacher and volleyball coach at Gardner Edgerton High School, Ashley discovered her cancer through a self-exam she performed during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October 2015.

Keeping a breast cancer survivor mindset

At one of her volleyball games, the gym was decorated in pink and the announcer shared cancer statistics throughout the evening. Having recently finished breastfeeding her son, Ashley realized it had been a while since she performed a self-exam. Doing so, she said, saved her life.

“Nobody knows your body the way you do, so you can tell right away if something’s not right,” Ashley says. When doctors confirmed the lump she felt was breast cancer, her coaching instincts took over.

“I’m a competitive person, so I saw cancer as another adversary. I don’t like to lose, and I said I wasn’t going to lose this battle,” she recalls. She continued to work full time while having chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

Ashley also enrolled in a clinical trial with encouragement from her husband, Jerad, who teaches science at the same high school. Both believe in helping advance medical science, which is what drew Ashley to The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

A team of breast pathologists, radiologists and breast-only chemotherapy specialists created a customized treatment plan to give Ashley the best chance for a cure while reducing long-term complications. Her doctors describe Ashley as a role model, saying her infectious smile has never dimmed throughout her treatment.

Staying positive during breast cancer treatment

“As soon as I started treatment, I knew they were covering every base for me," Ashley says of the multidisciplinary team of breast specialists who helped provide the support system she needed at one location. "There wasn’t a question they couldn’t answer, and all of my doctors were on the same page.”

Her doctors describe Ashley as an inspiration and say she is one of the bravest patients they have ever seen, living each day to the fullest.

A lifelong Chiefs fan who grew up in Great Bend, Kansas, Ashley is thrilled to be Coin Toss Captain, and will undoubtedly bring her unique brand of positive energy to the field.

As with all treatments, individual patient results vary. It is important to discuss your treatment options with your healthcare provider.

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