Friday, April 6, 2018

Local musicians with a reputation for helping others organize fundraiser for two of their own by Lorraine Glowczak

The Bowden sisters are now cancer free
The popular and locally adored husband and wife dance and DJ duo, Flamin Raymin and Sizzlin Suzzin’, are known for offering their services free of charge, or at discounted rates, to help raise funds for those in need or who have experienced some form of disadvantage. 
The musical team will be providing their services once again on April 15 at Dena’s restaurant from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. However, this time, the people they are providing the service for are Jessica and Amanda Bowden - the two daughters of Susan Dupuis (aka Sizzlin Suzzin’).

The Bowden sisters will be participating in this year’s Tri for a Cure on July 22 and the proceeds of the dance benefit will go toward this organization, which raises fund for cancer research. The sisters are both breast cancer survivors.

Jessica was diagnosed with stage IIb, grade III invasive ductal triple negative breast cancer on June 16, 2010 and Amanda was diagnosed with stage III, grade III invasive ductal Er/Pr positive and Her2 negative breast cancer on March 30, 2015.

Jessica had a very aggressive form of cancer that often does not respond well to chemotherapy. “I did have to go through chemotherapy however, along with radiation therapy and multiple surgeries over the years,” explained Jessica. “I was diagnosed at 32 years old, 11 days before my 33rd birthday. I know my family well and did not know that we had a family history. My sister, myself and my mother all tested positive for the BRCA1 genetic mutation. This puts people (not just women) at a very high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.”

Amanda’s cancer initially began at stage two. “After my mastectomy surgery there were so many
lymph nodes involved (the cancer had spread to) that they had to up my stage to three.”

To help raise funds, they have joined together as a team for this Tri for a Cure Event – their second year to participate. “Our team is called Sister Survivors and consists of myself and my sister,” explained Jessica. “We will also again be representing Mercy Hospital and Breast Care Specialists of Maine. We both received our care through Mercy Hospital and are forever grateful for their wonderful, personalized and seamless care.”

A triathlon consists of running, swimming and biking. “My sister will be doing the swimming and biking leg this year. Last year we were on a relay team with another survivor and she did the biking, my sister the swimming and myself the running. She's excited to do both this year and have the team be just her and I. She's excited that the snow is melting enough so she can get training on the bike.”

To have faced cancer gracefully is not an easy feat. Jessica explains how she got through it all. “I'm a Christian so my faith helped to carry me through in addition to the amazing support I received from my family, friends and even strangers.”

The Bowden sisters were not alone in their cancer journey. The mother of two adult children who both had cancer has her own story to tell. “My part of this story, as a mother of two daughters diagnosed with breast cancer, is that of what a mother does,” began Dupris. “I was there for support and followed their lead. I went to their chemo treatments with them. Sometimes we would laugh and joke about it other times we just sat quietly. But, the biggest part of my story is how a very dear friend taught me to give my fears and my daughters’ cancer to the Lord. My faith in God is truly what carried me through. Since the girls’ cancer ordeal, I have seen their faith in God grow immensely. I am very thankful for that.”

“The thought of cancer never really goes away, and I think that has been the driving force in my girls taking part in breast cancer fundraiser events and being very open about their experiences. I am truly so very proud of them and amazed at the strength they possess.” asked if they had any advice for others who may be facing similar circumstances, each sister offered a piece of advice. “Stay strong and keep your sense of humor,” stated Amanda. “Don't be afraid to cry or not be strong for a day. Rest and let people help, no matter how difficult that is.”
Jessica agreed with her sister regarding a sense of humor. She also offered additional advice. “Stay positive. Find someone who has been through what you are going through and ask them anything and everything. There's something so comforting about talking with someone who's been through it.”

But more importantly, Jessica was very clear on one thing. “Do self-exams and take charge of your health. I know this isn't something that young women think they need to worry about, but I was only 32, my sister was only 34 and we have met other women who were in their 20s with no family history! Cancer doesn't care, at all.” are various ways to view the journey of cancer, depending upon the outcome – each person taking from it what they can to keep hope alive. The Bowden sister’s mother may have captured it best for their circumstances. “Although, a cancer diagnosis is very scary I have to say many wonderful things have come from it.”

If you are unable to attend the fundraising event and wish to make a donation to the Bowden sisters, visit their link at

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