University City

Family experience drives campaign against cancer

Dolanne Fye is a determined woman who has overcome some major obstacles in life.

Fye was born and raised in Columbia. At age 14, she lost her mother to breast cancer. Her mom was diagnosed in 1969 and died in 1979.

Fye was fully aware that her mom suffered from the disease.

"Because we were a struggling family, my mom did not get prompt attention," she said.

Before she lost her mom, Fye lost her dad to diabetes when she was 10.

Orphaned at 14, Fye was sent to a girls' home in Corpus Christi, Texas. She graduated from high school early. She attended Greenville Technical College and worked part time at an insurance agency.

Eventually, Fye moved to Sumter, S.C., and continued to work in insurance. In 1984, she met her future husband, John, who worked in the same field. They married in 1986. They have two daughters.

Because of promotions in John's career, the Fyes moved back to Columbia for a few years, then to Charlotte in 1997. They live in the University City area off Old Concord Road.

In 2010, Fye went to Charleston to take care of an ailing brother.

During that time, she said, "I fell in love with a Harley Davidson motorcycle."

She bought it and had it customized for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of her mother, she named the bike "Rose."

Breast cancer also challenged another family member: Fye's sister Charlene, a double-mastectomy survivor.

As a result of her family experiences with breast cancer, Fye was determined to help others.

"I always wanted to do something for women battling breast cancer because of what I have gone through with my family members," Fye said. With the help of close friends Lena White and Debra Miller, Fye incorporated Riders Fighting Breast Cancer Inc. in October 2010. Not all members own or ride motorcycles.

Last March, they launched the organization with a project called "Windows of Hope."

The group bought 35 windows from a salvage store. They repaired, sanded, painted and sold them as a fundraiser. Some of the windows are still for sale. Photos of some of the windows can be found on Facebook (go to "Riders Fighting Breast Cancer Inc.").

Pancake breakfast

One of the members of Riders Against Breast Cancer, Debra Miller, attends a church where another member of the congregation, Glenda Patton, is battling breast cancer.

In honor of Patton, Riders Against Breast Cancer will sponsor a pancake breakfast fundraiser from 7 to 11 a.m. Feb. 25 at Eastway Baptist Church, 2749 Eastway Drive.

The $5 breakfast consists of two pancakes, sausage and a beverage. Donations will also be accepted.

The group has filed for status as a federally recognized nonprofit. Donations are still tax-deductible.

Riders Against Breast Cancer has more plans for fundraisers and donation projects.

Later this year they plan to collect toiletries and distribute them to women with breast cancer. The group is searching for partnering organizations to accept donations.

A silent auction of goods and services is also in their plans.

For more information, call Dolanne Fye at 704-807-2297.