Being Cancer Free Was 'Music' To Her Ears

Breast cancer survivor organizes concerts for hope

Carrie Hodousek
December 04, 2019 - 1:43 pm

A different Bay Area resident who is working to inspire and uplift others is featured each week in Difference Makers, a series by reporter Carrie Hodousek. 

In 2011, Sandy Preto was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 45 when doctors found that she had stage three invasive lobular carcinoma at the age of 45. It had been growing for 8-10 years.

"It really did come as a shock," Preto told KCBS Radio. "No one in my family has had breast cancer."

With no family history of the disease, Preto said she was unaware of the reality of the disease..

"There were definitely a lot of dark moments throughout the process. You go through a lot of pain and tiredness," she said.

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She finished surgeries and treatments in less than a year. When she because cancer-free, her family through her a party with live music to celebrate.

Now, the East Bay breast cancer survivor is working to raise awareness through the power of music.

"That was the birth of Notes4Hope -- as a way to bring people together through the healing power of music," Preto said of her organization.

Notes4Hope, an East Bay nonprofit, organizes concerts to raise awareness about cancer.
Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

Notes4Hope is a non-profit that produces concerts each year to raise money and help spread awareness about cancer prevention and treatment by using music to lift people up.

"When you are listening to music, you are in that moment," she said. "Being present is so important to anyone's well being. It can be very positive." 

In addition to concerts, Preto also delivers wellness and recovery kits to other women with breast cancer.

"We hand out things like a comfort pillow. If you've had surgery, you can wear it between the seat belt of your car," she said.

Sandy Preto founded Notes4Hope after being declared cancer free.
Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

Preto's organization has donated all their funds to cancer research and prevention efforts over the last six years, yet somehow she said she never gets donor fatigue.

"I get the feeling like I'm not doing enough," she said. "I wish I could do more."

If you would like to nominate someone as a KCBS Difference Maker, e-mail differencemakers@kcbsradio.com.​