By Lizette Robles - October 21, 2020
For more than two decades, Michelle Chador has been a nurse in Pinellas County. Most of that time has been spent working in emergency rooms. As an Air Force and Army Reserves veteran, Chador is no stranger to working through critical situations. During her time in the Reserves, she was a flight nurse and held the rank of Captain. While deployed with the 345th Combat Support Hospital unit, she flew in Blackhawk helicopters to help save the lives of American troops in active war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a health care professional, Chador knows the importance of routine screenings. After undergoing her annual mammogram in 2019, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 60.
Doctors gave her two treatment options: standard of care chemotherapy or a clinical trial. Chador chose the clinical trial.
“I am 200% glad I made the decision to join the trial,” said Chador. “I feel like I was under some kind of lucky star when I was asked to be part of it.”
Fortunately, Chador responded well to the treatment and did not experience intense side effects. After completing the trial and undergoing a double mastectomy, she was deemed cancer-free within six months of her diagnosis.
“I am repeatedly told how brave I am; however, I think about the women who lived with my diagnosis before present day treatments were available,” Chador said. “To me, they were the brave ones.”
Today, Chador works full time as nurse case manager and serves on the board of the non-profit Socks to Kids. The mother of two adult children, Joseph and Laura, is also the proud “Bubbe” to six grandchildren.
“My mom is an American hero,” says Chador’s daughter Laura Daniels. “When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her best friend, a Colonel from her days of deployment, said ‘we are going to Moffitt!’ and I am so grateful for this.”
Chador is a long-time fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On Oct. 18, the Bucs honored her and several other breast cancer survivors during their annual Crucial Catch game.
“I’ve been a Bucs fan since the team wore sherbet orange uniforms, when the buccaneer on the helmets name was Bruce,” Chador said. “Now we have Tom Brady as our quarterback and Rob Gronkowski as one of our tight ends. We can hope for great things for Tampa Bay.”
“We are grateful to Moffitt for saving my mother’s life,” Daniels said. “No one loves life more than my mom.”