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Cancer survivors take the spotlight at NILE rodeo in Billings

Posted at 10:32 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:51:22-04

BILLINGS- It was a touching scene Friday night at MetraPark in Billings before the NILE rodeo kicked off.

More than a dozen breast cancer survivors were honored as they entered the arena. It was all part of “tough enough to wear pink” night– an effort to show support and also raise money in the fight against breast cancer.

Dona Mastveltem Dillman was one of the survivors. She’s the fifth person in her immediate family who has battled cancer, but fortunately, all survived it.

She said it was an emotional experience walking onto the dirt floor at Rimrock Auto Arena.

“It hits close to home. It was awesome. It was amazing. It gets right to the heart,” she said.

An estimated one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes.  Gayle Ellis was one of those women, receiving her diagnosis 22 years ago.

“It puts tears in your eyes that people are supporting more so than 22 years ago,” she said.  “Twenty-two years ago, it wasn’t talked about much, but now it is very much so.  All of the leaps and bounds that have been made since that time.”

Early detection is one of the keys in surviving breast cancer.

One dollar from each ticket sold was donated to the St. Vincent foundation Eva project. More than $6,000 was raised to help uninsured and under-insured women get possible life-saving mammograms.

Story by Russ Riesinger, Q2 News