Building together

“Having each other to lean on helped get us through.”

~Jeanette Campagna and Sonia Graham

Sonia and Jeanette walking down the street together in Newport.

Breast Cancer Survivors Look to a Future Filled With Hope

It was a relationship that evolved in the most unconventional way.

Sonia Graham and Jeanette Campagna had a casual friendship and business connection through the Newport Chamber of Commerce.

Their relationship quickly turned into a support system and a lasting bond as the two women fought their individual battles with breast cancer (see their stories below).

Graham had discovered a large lump in her left breast during a routine self‑exam in February 2020. The following month, an aggressive form of breast cancer was confirmed.

“I remember it like yesterday,” said Graham. “It was March 26, 2020.”

Jeanette smiling at Nye beach in Newport.

Campagna had received her own breast cancer diagnosis a few months prior in November 2019 following a routine mammogram.

Still adjusting to her own breast cancer diagnosis and weighing her next steps for care, Campagna still remembers the call from Graham.

“I was taken by surprise when Sonia called me and shared the news about her diagnosis — it hadn’t been talked about during other interactions we had,” said Campagna.

Campagna was a sounding board and offered a wealth of knowledge as Graham began her own fight against cancer.

“We talked and texted frequently; it was a priority that we check in with each other,” both Graham and Campagna said. “Having each other to lean on helped get us through.”

“Never take life for granted — you only have one!”

~Jeanette Campagna

Sonia and her husband walking together at Nye Beach in Newport.

Fast forward to early 2021. Graham is officially in remission and Campagna proudly celebrated being one year cancer-free.

Shortly after reaching these milestones, the two women decided they wanted to help women struggling with breast cancer in their community.

“We talked about getting involved with an already‑established breast cancer awareness walk,” said Graham. “But it was important to us we support local, both the women impacted by breast cancer and our community that surrounded us with compassion throughout our fight.”

Jeanette and Sonia chatting together at Nana's Irish Pub in Newport.

Then in April, Graham received a call from Campagna — her words exactly, “We are doing this! We will create our own breast cancer awareness walk.”

Despite Graham’s initial apprehension, Campagna’s experience with developing similar events along with their shared passion, quickly turned any concerns into excitement.

The two women met at Nana’s Irish Pub, a favorite of theirs in Nye Beach. It was then that their idea blossomed to reality and into an event they would host later that year at Newport High School on Oct. 9, 2021 — Coast Busters Walk.

“It was important to us we support local, both the women impacted by breast cancer and our community that surrounded us with compassion throughout our fight.”

~Sonia Graham

Jeanette and Sonia holding plaques for their annual Coast Busters event in Newport, Oregon.

The day of the event was more successful than either Graham or Campagna imagined.

“More than 100 people showed — including my son who traveled all the way from Washington D.C.,” said Campagna.

“It also raised over $14,000,” said Graham. “These funds will go back to our community that supported us whole‑heartedly so that we may help women struggling with breast cancer.”

Neither Graham nor Campagna had plans to make the Coast Busters Walk an annual event. But, after the success of the first and the community’s request to keep it going, that is what it became, with the second annual event scheduled to occur on Oct. 1, 2022, at Newport High School.

Jeanette and Sonia at their annual Coast Busters event in Newport, Oregon.

Elated with the community’s response, the women shared their vision for the event in years to come.

“One day our goal is to be known as the co‑founders of the Coast Busters Walk and to be able to hand the reins over to someone else — so we can just be participants,” Graham and Campagna said with a smile.

Graham and Campagna expressed their gratitude to title sponsor NextHome Picket Fence Realty, not only for their sponsorship but also for the thoughtful medallions they prepared for participants, as well as the many other sponsors of the 2021 event.

Upholding their promise to keep the Coast Busters Walk proceeds local, Graham and Campagna worked with the Pacific Communities Health District Foundation to allocate monies toward the Women’s Cancer Fund. 

Schedule Your Mammogram

A mammogram can find breast cancer before you have symptoms or notice a lump, and early treatment gives you more options. New advances like 3-D mammography is the standard of care at all Samaritan Diagnostic Imaging locations. This technology has increased the detection of breast cancer and decreased false positives.

Join a Cancer Care Seminar

Our Cancer Care Virtual Seminars are free to anyone interested in learning more about cancer. From breast health to nutrition guidance, cancer prevention and more, our local experts will guide you.  Watch one of our previous seminars:

Words to Live by From Breast Cancer Survivors

Jeanette Campagna Is Cancer-free
& Loving Life!

“Never take life for granted — you only have one!” said Jeanette Campagna, 57, of Florence, when asked how cancer changed her outlook on life.

In November 2019, Campagna was diagnosed with clinical stage 1 estrogen positive breast cancer, an invasive ductal carcinoma.

“Depending on the diagnosis, there can be a variety of treatment options and decisions to be made about cancer care,” said Campagna. “It can be overwhelming.”

Further biopsy determined that three of the four tumors in various quadrants of the breast were positive, leaving Campagna with only one option, a total left breast mastectomy.

Feeling a sense of relief about the mastectomy, Campagna then made the decision to have breast reconstructive surgery.

“I felt like I got hit by a truck,” said Campagna. “Fortunately, the care team at Samaritan Plastics, Reconstructive & Hand Surgery were so wonderful and caring.”

“Despite the trying circumstances Campagna faced in her cancer journey, including a frozen shoulder requiring rehabilitation, she is thankful for so much.

Jeanette and her husband on a sunny day at Nye beach in Newport.

“My husband, John, was my rock throughout this entire experience. His support, and that of my son, Tanner, network of friends and community, helped me get through,” Campagna said.

Campagna is now approaching three years of survivorship and proudly celebrates being cancer-free.

Sonia Graham Is Stronger, More Confident & Crushing Cancer!

“You have cancer, cancer doesn’t have you!” are but a few words of advice Sonia Graham, 55, of Newport, has for those touched by cancer.

Sonia holding a sign which reads, "Warrior Strong" commemorating her breast cancer survival.

Diagnosed in March 2020 with clinical stage 2 left breast cancer, an invasive lobular cancer that had metastasized to the lymph node at the time of diagnosis, Graham went through the full gamut of treatment, including 16 rounds of chemotherapy to help shrink the tumor, followed by a lumpectomy and then a complete lymph node dissection.

When cancer was still detected during a follow-up biopsy, radiation therapy — 33 rounds — was the next recommended course of treatment.

Living in Depoe Bay at the time and not eager to make the daily drive to the Samaritan Pastega Regional Cancer Center in Corvallis, Graham opted to stay at the Mario Pastega House during her radiation therapy treatments — a resource she heard about from her social worker.

Today, Graham is now well into remission and approaching two years of survivorship.

Grateful for her husband Jim of 30 years, network of friends, cancer treatment options and care team, Graham shares her outlook on life.

“This experience changed me,” said Graham. “I am more confident, willing to take chances and just feel like I’m living life with a greater purpose now.”

three pink ribbons in a row.

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