Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has named Greenville resident Alicia Zubikowski as October’s Citizen of the Month Award recipient.
Zubikowski, an Emmy Award-winning sports documentary producer and director, was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago at the age of 35 and underwent a double mastectomy. She is now a breast cancer awareness advocate, and bravely shares her story with guests at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its causes, as well as prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. Each October, Neuhaus recognizes a breast cancer survivor as the Citizen of the Month.
“Alicia’s courageous battle with breast cancer has been an inspiration to her family, friends, and the community,” Neuhaus said. “Many of us have been affected by breast cancer whether personally or through a loved one’s experience with it, and Alicia’s strength and courage are inspirational and give us hope. We are grateful for the work that she does with the American Cancer Society to promote awareness about this disease.”
Zubikowski scheduled a doctor’s visit in August of 2019 after experiencing headaches and discomfort on her left side. She said her doctor was not concerned initially because she was in her mid-30s. According to the American Cancer Society, less than three percent of woman diagnosed with breast cancer are under the age of 40.
However, after an examination, doctors suggested that Zubikowski undergo a mammogram which was followed up by multiple ultrasounds that led to a stereotactic biopsy which resulted in a breast cancer diagnosis. Her physician followed up with a biopsy and Zubikowski was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, which means the disease has extended to beyond the immediate region of the tumor and may have invaded nearby lymph nodes and muscles, but has not spread to distant organs.
“You don’t think that will ever be you at that age, you just go into survival mode,” Zubikowski said. “Physically and mentally, I just could not wrap my head around being diagnosed with breast cancer. I do not know how people get through this without a support system. I have a wonderful and loving family and a terrific network of friends that helped me immensely.”
Not only does Zubikowski speak about her experience battling the disease at American Cancer Society events, but she encourages women of all ages, especially in her age demographic, to undergo screening for breast cancer. Breast cancer screening is an important part of overall breast health. Zubikowski is also writing a book about being diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40.
Zubikowski is now healthy, but undergoes low dose, preventative chemotherapy every six weeks.
“I’m actively involved in raising awareness about breast cancer because when I talk to some women about the illness, they mention that their mothers, aunts, grandmothers had cancer,” Zubikowski said. “People look at me and think there is no way I could have had breast cancer because I am young and active and that this disease can only affect an older demographic. So, I want to make sure that breast cancer is a topic that continues to be discussed and hope I can serve as a resource for younger women. I am appreciative that County Executive Neuhaus is recognizing my story and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
Zubikowski will participate in this year’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, October 16th at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets with three former NFL players, Fred Taylor, Ryan Clark, and Channing Crowder, who host the YouTube podcast “The Pivot,” which she produces.
Individuals, companies, friends, and neighbors can register online for the walk at www.makingstrideswalk.org/hudsonvalley. There is no fee to register, though contributions and donations are greatly appreciated.
Neuhaus introduced his Citizen of the Month Award, which acknowledges outstanding Orange County residents, in January of 2017. To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a letter to “Citizen of the Month” at 255-275 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924. Be sure to include the nominee’s name, hometown, a list of their accomplishments, why you are nominating them and any other pertinent information.
For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or email@example.com.