My name is Alicia Carlin and I am a sister of Theta Phi Alpha Fraternity’s Beta Upsilon chapter at Saint Leo University.
This year, for Theta Phi’s annual Rock Against Cancer event, we are honoring Gina Guthrie (or Aunt Gina as I call her)!
Gina and my Mom met at the University of Florida during their undergraduate career and have been friends ever since. Fun fact: Gina found her Greek home at the University of Florida as a Kappa Delta. At 22 years old, upon graduation, Gina was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As a result she received 12 rounds of chemotherapy followed by seven weeks of radiation. After extensive treatment and by the grace of God, Gina was cured of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She continued with life, married her husband Mike, and together they had two children – Mia and Mike Jr. Mike and Gina’s children are such a God-given blessing because after her first round with cancer Gina was told there was only a 30% chance of having children. Gina currently owns and operates her own out-of-home business called Bocca Felice (“happy mouth” in Italian) which combines her passions of healthy eating, cooking, and serving others. She caters events such as banquets and weddings and uses all locally-grown, farm fresh ingredients.
Gina was cancer free for 25 years, until the summer of 2017 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it was concluded that the development of breast cancer was directly linked to the radiation treatment from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On September 5, 2017 she underwent a bilateral mastectomy. The bilateral mastectomy was a success in that it not only removed the residual margin of the original 2.5cm tumor that we knew existed and had removed via lumpectomy on 5/25, but it also discovered an additional undetected 5.5cm tumor that had been hiding from mammography, along with 10/11 lymph nodes that contained disease. She recovered from surgery well but had to start back up on chemotherapy and radiation within a few weeks. From October 2017 to January 2018 she received six treatments of chemotherapy. Radiation treatments are up next, but she recently finished a visit from MD Anderson in Houston, Texas to possibly be a part of a radiation trial.
Despite the devastating reality of cancer that Gina has lived and is currently living, she remains prayerful and radiates joy. She is truly a warrior, a powerful woman of God, and someone I look up to!
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