Elmo and Ray

Just Call Me Ray - Raylene Hollrah and FriendI’d like to introduce you to the bravest woman I know…Raylene Hollrah. Raylene has battled through more in the last 6 year than most people will go through in a lifetime but has remained positive, hopeful and ready to encourage and inspire anyone she meets. Her amazing story needs to be shared. It will give some people hope, it will bring awareness to others, it will provide a new avenue for her worthy cause. She is a survivor, a leader, a wife, a mother and a hero- I’m honored to call her my friend.

In order for me to share Raylene’s story, I need to tell you about how we met…As a 6 year breast cancer survivor myself, I have met many people along my journey but no one like Raylene. Five years ago we both attended the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Symposium (a group for young survivors who are diagnosed under the age of 44). Raylene got up and spoke to a room of emotional young women by introducing herself saying “You can call me Ray since I no longer have any female parts”. The room lit up and everyone was able to be themselves. I introduced myself and told her I traveled to her home town of Hermann, MO once a month for work. We immediately exchanged contact information and started to have lunch every month when I was working in Hermann. (This has now been a tradition every month for the past 5 years.) Fighting and beating breast cancer afforded us the chance to meet, but our ability to celebrate life- the big and the small moments- have allowed our friendship to grow into something very special.

This past year on Memorial Day weekend while my boyfriend and I were visiting her and her family for the holiday weekend Raylene asked me if one of her implants looked swollen. She went to her doctor the following week and was quickly diagnosed with a very rare form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma called ALCL. Raylene’s form of lymphoma was 100% caused by her implant. We’ve learned that this can be caused by any implant, not just to a woman who has had breast cancer.

Raylene, is the 25th person in US and the 61st person in the world to be diagnosed with this cancer. Keeping her trademark sense of humor, Raylene’s new saying is “My real ones tried to kill me and so did my fake ones”. She spent the entire summer along with her family at M. D. Anderson in Houston, TX with a whole team of doctors dedicated to her case. Thank goodness they were able to detect it early and remove the cancer, allowing her to avoid chemotherapy and radiation. She is doing amazing and at the time of this letter is again cancer free!

Raylene has started a foundation called Just Call Me Ray. She is trying to build awareness so more people are informed of the risks involved with implants and reconstructive surgery. The FDA became involved in 2011, yet doctors are still not fully bringing awareness to their patients and sadly, patients are being misdiagnosed as having a breast cancer recurrence. Chances are, if they had been diagnosed and treated properly the survival rate would be higher. Raylene hopes she can provide awareness and save others with her story. She has a strong voice and a passion to see changes come about with women’s health. Her mission is to ensure implant patients are informed of their risks and that doctors become more aware and able to provide a proper diagnosis to their patients.

Please help us spread Raylene’s message. She is a walking miracle.

Thank you!

– Elaine Moel