Aunt and Niece Fighting Breast Cancer Rely On Each Other’s Strength 

The past year has been difficult for kindergarten teacher Sara Devine and her aunt Kelli Okyere.These two women not only share blood, they share an experience that has brought them closer.Both of them are battling breast cancer.”Because of my age, and my lifestyle I always ate healthy, I never thought it could happen to me,” Sara said as we spoke with her at her home in Winterport.”I thought it meant that I was going to die, I panicked, I worried about my family,” Kelli said as she recounted her initial shock when she received the news that she had breast cancer.Sara noticed a lump when she was breast feeding her then newborn son, Brock.She was just 32 years old.”I just thought of my boys and my husband and my family and my future and my job and just my life and what was going to happen,” she said.Fear, uncertainty and disbelief all went through her mind, but Sara says seeing her aunt battle the illness first hand gave her strength. Sara received the news just months after Kelli was diagnosed.”Knowing that my diagnosis actually made her mindful of the lump she found I felt glad I had to go through it first,” Kelli said.Since their diagnosis these women have undergone surgeries and chemotherapy both baring cancer’s painful scars but they’re thankful they haven’t done it alone.”It’s given us a different type of bond, and also because I was diagnosed before she as I think it’s been helpful,” Kelli said.By sharing their story, Sara and Kelli want to tell others that life goes on.Sara hasn’t been able to work this school year after being diagnosed.Her fellow staff members have come together to host a benefit for her.It’s called a “Devine Evening” and will take place from four to seven Saturday at Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden.Admission is 6-dollars for adults, 3-dollars for children.