Sat., 11:14 pm: Howland woman named 2014 Vanek cancer recipient

COMING SUNDAY: If the struggle against cancer is a test of faith, Howland resident Amy Gardner is passing with flying colors.

“With cancer, either you live and have faith, or you let it take over,” Gardner said. “I refuse. I don’t give life to it.”

Gardner, 34, is locked in a rematch with advanced-stage breast cancer. Her struggle caught the attention of the Beth Ann Vanek This Means War Against Breast Cancer charity, a local organization named after Southington resident Beth Ann Vanek, who herself was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30.

Vanek is celebrating three-and-a-half years cancer-free, and the charity created to help support her emotionally and financially has been “paying it forward” to young women who are also battling the disease.

Now in its fourth year, the charity selected Gardner as the beneficiary of this year’s This Means War 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament & Chinese Auction Fundraiser. To be held Oct. 18 at Southington High School, this year’s event honors Gardner, who said she never expected to hear “the C word” for a second time.

Read Gardner’s story in the Sunday Tribune Chronicle.