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Marnie Breecker

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

My name is Alan Breecker.  I have been a die hard Islanders fan since 1980, a long time season ticket holder, a corporate sponsor and the face of the Islanders on the road. I have visited many opposing rinks dressed in the orange and blue throughout the years, spreading Islanders pride around the U.S. and Canada. 

Marnie Breecker and her mom.
My story is deep. I lost my mother to Breast Cancer in August of 2004, after a 20-year battle. She was diagnosed in 1984 with an aggressive form of what we think was breast cancer. After extensive hospital stays, surgery and Chemotherapy, my mother went into remission until 1999. She was cancer free for those years but had numerous side effects that she had to battle and even worse - the constant fear that it would always come back. In 1999, it did just that. From 1999-2004 she went through 16 different chemotherapy sessions, Pin Point radiation treatments, special diets, etc. while never retiring from work. My mother owned a travel agency in Great Neck called Courtyard travel, which she had a passion for. As bad as things were, she never stopped working and taking care of her employees and clients.

In 2004, I lost her. I was distraught. We had visited more doctors than words can explain and even till this day, it is not clear if she died from breast cancer or ovarian cancer. It took me over a year to get past the raw pain of losing her. I began to use her as a role model for how to live and battle MAJOR adversity. Who am I to complain about the little things? She is and always will be my inspiration.

Inspiration. That brings me to my sister Marnie, who at the age of 38, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer in March of this year.  This dreadful disease which has tortured my family for all these years is now back in my sister. My mother carried the BRCA1 gene that was passed on to my sister Marnie. The BRCA gene is prevalent in 1 in every 800 people in the general population. Moreover, these genetic mutations are responsible for up to 25 percent of early-onset breast cancers as well as up to 90 percent of early-onset cancers in families with a history of breast and ovarian cancer. Marnie, knowing that she carried this gene, also lived with that same fear my mother had - that this awful disease would one day get her, which it now has.

Marnie took this battle on head first right away in March. The strength that our mother displayed during her 20-year battle immediately was taken on by my sister. As of today, Marnie, while working a full psychology practice in California, has had a double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, 4 rounds of  very aggressive Chemo out of 8 and has BEAT THE DISEASE! She is cancer free. She has demonstrated strength and courage that has now become my new and true inspiration. She is the best aunt to my teo young boys and an amazing sister and sister-in-law to my wife and I. 
Going into the last 4 of her 8 chemo treatments, Marnie is ready to battle. She is becoming stronger and stronger by the day. As a long time Islanders fan herself, I figured we can share our story with your organization. As the puck drops this Saturday with the start of a NEW season, Marnie also starts a new chapter of her battle! She is now a cancer survivor. The parallelism between sport and life is a fine line, however I look at Marnie as the Islanders going into a fresh new season with all the opportunity to win and win BIG!!!

Lets go Islanders and Lets go Marnie.

Alan Breecker
Woodbury, NY
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