In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

August 29, 2019

Cancer Patient Flash-Mobs Her Way Out of Chemo

By In the Loop
Jean Hastings had always wanted to be a part of a flash mob, and finishing chemotherapy at Mayo Clinic seemed like just the right time to make it happen.

Jean Hastings had always wanted to be a part of a flash mob, and finishing chemotherapy at Mayo Clinic seemed like just the right time to make it happen.

Cancer patients at Mayo Clinic view their treatments in many different ways. Jean Ann Hastings looked at hers as one big dance party. "I used to call it dance therapy because I hate the word chemotherapy," she tells Mankato's KEYC News 12. Regardless, when Jean was diagnosed with "invasive ductal carcinoma, stage two triple negative breast cancer" earlier this year, chemotherapy is exactly what her care team at Mayo Clinic in Rochester prescribed, the station reports.

And in the end, it worked. "My tumor was the size of a Ping-Pong ball and now I can barely feel it," Jean tells the station. She also says she knew just how she wanted to celebrate the good news. "When you find out you have cancer, you kind of reflect on your bucket list," Jean says. "I've always wanted to be a part of a flash mob. And it kind of went out 10 years ago, so I told my kids I want to create my own, and they were all for it."

So were the 50 or so friends and family who Jean brought to Rochester with her, who she calls her "Breastie Besties." When word of Jean's flash mob dream first spread, the group got together, picked a song (Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling"), turned to YouTube for help with the choreography, and then practiced, practiced and practiced some more.

On July 29, it was showtime.

Holding a sign that read, "Last Chemo, So We Dance," Jean made her way down the stairs of Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building. As the music starts, her "Breastie Besties" appear, take their positions behind and alongside Jean, and with smiles and a lot of laughs, dance their worries away. An encore performance followed outside, carrying just as much emotion along with the same three goals Jean tells us she had for her flash mob. "The first was to thank my care team; everyone's just been so wonderful," she says. "I did that by writing their names on the back of my sign."

The second goal, Jean says, was to inspire others. "Afterward, one of my nurses did tell me she had a new patient who saw me dance and she said it made her realize that she can get through this, too," Jean tells us.

The third goal was for Jean and her mob to "not get arrested" by Mayo Security personnel along the way. "We tried to be very mindful of other patients and staff so that everybody could still walk by us and get up their stairs," she says.      

With a flash mob checked off her bucket list, Jean tells us she'll now turn her attention to the one remaining surgery she has left before dancing off into the sunset. When she does, she says memories of Mayo Clinic won't be far behind. "We're so blessed to live so close to Mayo and to receive such great treatment," Jean says. "I couldn't be more thankful for everything my care team's done for me."  

You can read more about Jean and watch her performances here. Then mob us with your comments below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with all your besties.


Tags: Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Patient Stories

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