Denise Lewis was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2008 when she was 42 years old.
Lewis, who owns Brook-Owen Real Estate in Westminster, has lived in Carroll County with her husband for 24 years, and they have four children who are active in athletics. She has been a participant in the Paint Carroll Pink initiative since opening her real estate office in 2017.
For over a decade, Carroll Hospital has held a monthlong, multifaceted celebration of breast cancer survival, screenings and early detection. The Center for Breast Health at Carroll Hospital, along with presenting sponsor Advanced Radiology, are taking this year’s Pink Fling and making it 31 days of spreading hope, encouragement, and awareness.
Lewis has been cancer free for 11 years, and the Times caught up with her to discuss her love of real estate, her cancer journey and more.
A: I have always loved looking at homes and decorating. I purchased my first home when I was 21 and my agent at the time told me I would do great at it. When we moved to Caroll County we kept our home in Baltimore County as a rental property and after being in Carroll County about six or seven years, a good friend who is also a real estate agent told me I would be great at it and I would love it. I got my license shortly thereafter and she was right — I love it.
Q: I understand you are a cancer survivor. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience and how long you’ve been cancer free?
A: In October 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. There was no family history and I was as healthy as I had ever been. I had a double mastectomy and chemo and all the wonderful things that come along with it, such as losing my hair and gaining weight. I have to say the thing that kept me going, other than family, friends, and God was maintaining normal. I continued to work, I continued to be on committees and volunteer, and it was very therapeutic. 2009 was an amazing year for me professionally and personally.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about participating in the Pink Fling?
A: I opened my own brokerage three years ago and it has been an amazing opportunity to give back to our community. We don’t just work here, we live here and we thrive here.
Q: What does it mean for you to see the county come together during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
A: I will be the first one to tell you that it takes a village, but those words could not be more true when you’re fighting for your life. Since my journey, three of my best friends and my mother-in-law have become survivors. One of the most humbling things is to acknowledge and admit that you can’t do it alone but one of the most rewarding things is to walk along someone knowing you have made a difference. I hope everyone that sees the outpouring of pink knows it’s from the heart and we are cheering you on.