PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - Cat Coats looks the picture of health, sharing the afternoon with her son Jay. She finally feels it too.
"It's two years into my journey, I'm energetic and feel really good," said Cat.
But, it's been a long road. A stage one breast cancer diagnosis, at 56-years-old, came as a huge shock. She had no history of cancer in her family and a recent mammogram came back clean. She found it during a breast self exam. Something, to this day she encourages people to do.
"So the message always needs to be out there," said Cat.
That's why, back in 2011, the Coats first shared a stunning announcement with ACTION NEWS that, Cat's husband, Sheriff Jim Coats would retire 15 months early to take care of his wife. Immediately following, the Coats said, dozens of women got checked. Two years later, Cat said their decision of going public, is still having an impact.
"Our face was for that, I believe we have touched hearts and lives and people with breast cancer all over, we may not even know who. Just getting the word out and stand up to breast cancer," said Cat.
So for the third year, she's assembled her team, Catwalk for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraiser.
And for the second year, her son Jay is the chairperson in Pinellas. He said he's proud of his parents for taking such a public stand.
"It's positive news and it's getting the word out there that Cancer is out there and we need the research and we need to find other ways of curing this or detecting it at an earlier stage," said Jay.
Team Catwalk already raised thousands and Cat hopes she's done even more than money can buy.
"Breast cancer does not define you and it does not own you and I think we were able to help women understand that," said Cat.
ACTION NEWS is a proud sponsor of the event.
Our own Linda Hurtado will emcee the event in Hillsborough county, while our Jackie Callaway will be across the bay in Pinellas
For more information on the walk, you can head to makingstrides.org