Beating Cancer Fuels Her Passion

Stacy Watkins is driven by her passion to improve the lives of many, whether it is through financial literacy, breast cancer awareness, or the impact of treating cancer. While she has always been focused, everything changed on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 16, 2012, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Stacy WatkinsWatkins sought treatment and endured six-and-a-half weeks of radiation every evening without missing one day of work. She maintained high levels of performance at her job, continued her volunteer work at Junior Achievement, and remained as team mom for her two sons’ baseball club and Little League teams.

“Most people say, ‘You’re lucky, you only had stage 1 cancer and only had to have radiation,’ but they have no idea all the maintenance that is involved and the snowball issues that have occurred,” she explained. “I’m incredibly grateful for all of the support I’ve received over the years from my family, friends, baseball community, and Nevada State Bank. I fight to work hard and pay back as well as pay forward all that has been given to me in means of support.”

Today, as a senior vice president and regional manager at Nevada State Bank, she manages 15 bank branches and 150 employees.

Watkins has also dedicated the past 16 years of her life to volunteering and advocating for financial literacy through Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada. The nonprofit provides business, economic and life-skills programs. She served on the organization’s board of directors for the past 10 years and was appointed chairman in 2014.

She has assisted dozens of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and has influenced over 100 women to regularly get a mammogram. Eventually, she would like to start a nonprofit organization to assist people with the many unforeseen issues involved with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

One major medical problem Watkins experienced with cancer treatments was the devastating impact on her dental health. Due to radiation treatment and stress, she is currently undergoing major reconstruction of her mouth. She has already paid out $17,000 for replacement of crowns, bridges and implants due to loss of bone and teeth, and will need another $15,000 to $20,000 to complete the work. Insurance will only cover a small portion of these dental expenses.

Her treatments overall have consisted of radiation, chemo and an ongoing five to six rounds of antibiotics each year due to a low immune system. In 2015, as a result of appendicitis, it was discovered that Watkins had an enlarged uterus due to the Tamoxifen medication and she underwent three biopsies. She was prescribed Lupron shots at a cost of $3,200 per shot to naturally shut down her ovaries, but it impacted her vision and started to create heart issues. Watkins stopped immediately and made the decision to have a full hysterectomy, due to the side effects and the results of her biopsies.

“My prognosis is amazing. I consider myself lucky and have a better understanding of my blessings at a young age,” she explained. “I strongly believe you have to manage breast cancer no differently than diabetes or a heart condition. You don’t just have surgery and move on. It changes everything and is a new way of living, and you have to stay on top of doctors, ask a lot of questions, and there’s a ton of maintenance work and financial hardships, but you have to mentally prepare and always plan and manage it so it doesn’t manage you. I truly believe I was put in this situation to be a voice to help others and to one day make a difference in this crazy process where it can help people the most.” Stacy Watkins clearly demonstrates she’s a Fearless Female.