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Claire Emery kicks cancer

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In February of 2014 Woodbury resident Claire Emery received some news that she did not expect – she had breast cancer. 

“In the beginning I was shocked,” she said. “I don’t have any family history and I would consider myself on the younger end of the spectrum so it came as a real surprise .” 

Now Emery is cancer-free and celebrating her fight, and the others’ fights, by participating in Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile fundraising and awareness walk, this weekend, Aug. 21-23. 

“I just have this excitement building about it,” Emery said. “I’m looking forward to just being a part of something big. “ 

Getting the diagnosis 

Emery, a reading specialist at a school in Bloomington, was fortunate in her diagnosis that her breast cancer was caught early enough, at stage one, and that it had not spread to her lymph nodes. 

Emery went through six rounds of chemotherapy, over the course of 18 to 20 months, in addition to a double mastectomy and hormone treatment. 

Through it all, Emery said, her family and friends helped her. 

“It helped me stay positive and focused on the next step,” she said. 

It’s only now, Emery said, that she has started to reflect on the journey she has been on for the past 1½ years. 

“I feel like now, being past the diagnosis and treatment, I can reflect more on it,” she said. “When I was going through it everything was happening so quickly. 

“It’s still hard for me to process that it actually happened, though. I’m on the other side of it now, but it doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s over because I’m still processing a lot of it.”

Taking up the fight

Emery will be participating in this weekend’s 3-Day thanks to a friend of hers who had participated previously. 

“When you start going through all this stuff,” she said, “ the name comes up.” 

“It’s so  inspirational, so motivating.” 

Emery’s team, Claire Kicks Cancer’s Ass, or CKCA for short, is made up of her father, her sister-in-law, three friends and, of course, herself. 

“Some might find the team name offensive,” Emery said, “but it’s my cancer, I can say whatever I want to say.” 

So far, the team has raised more than $20,000, breast cancer research and awareness, through several fundraising events and donations. 

“I want to walk because I can,” she said. “This is an opportunity for me to show my body who’s in charge right now.” 

Emery said being a breast cancer survivor has truly changed her perspective on life and what’s important. 

“It sounds kind of cliché, but I appreciate things more than I did,” she said, “and I now realize it’s important to take pleasure in the little things because things can change really quickly. This has been a learning experience for me to just slow down a little bit and appreciate what’s happening right now. 

“I am stronger than I thought I was, but certainly not invincible.” 

To donate to Claire Emery’s Sudan G. Komen 3-Day team, visit

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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