Her parents, husband Christopher, and young daughter Gianna, along with relatives who flew in from the Midwest for the event, beamed with joy and pride as they watched the 40-year-old Walnut woman walk across the stage.
Like graduation, Shelby was celebrating an important milestone, surviving breast cancer.
The Rowland Heights native participated Oct. 13 in the St. Jude Medical Center’s 24th Annual “A Walk Among the Stars” Fashion Show. The event’s purpose was to raise money to fund clinical trials and research at St. Jude Medical Center’s Crosson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“It was an amazing, amazing experience because all of the models were cancer survivors,” Shelby said, “to know were all in this together.”
Doctors diagnosed Aisa with stage two breast cancer in 2011, shortly after she gave birth to Gianna.
Shelby recalled that she had trouble breastfeeding. She noticed she had a lump, went to the doctor, and quickly was given a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy.
“It was so quick,” she said.
Shelby said she felt an internal shift after her diagnosis.
“Once the doctor confirmed it, something strange happened,” she said. “My attitude changed. It wasn’t ‘woe is me.’ I was like ‘I can beat this.’”
She continued working her job at an advertising agency through chemotherapy and only took time off for her surgery.
Shelby said she get regular check ups from her general physician, her oncologist, and her surgeon.
She first had chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, and then underwent surgery. After surgery, she had radiation and finished her treatment in January 2012. She also participated in a clinical trial.
Her oncologist’s office nominated Shelby to walk in the fashion show. She also shared her story on video.
Shelby said she was happy to participate in the event alongside her fellow survivors, to share her story, and to give back to St. Jude.
“It was fantastic to be a part of,” she said. “We had come so far from it. It was a great experience with all of the survivors, my family, and my friends who saw me go through it.”