FPL’s Warrior in Pink feels ‘reenergized’ in breast cancer fight through sense of community
February 24, 2023
Cheryl Edlebeck smiles in front of her photo featured on the side of a bright pink Palm Tran bus

With a lively pink rose in one hand and a water bottle in the other, two-time breast cancer survivor Cheryl Edlebeck walked purposefully down South Flagler Drive among thousands of fellow fighters, survivors and supporters as part of Saturday’s Susan G. Komen® West Palm Beach MORE THAN PINK Walk.

“Look, there I am on the bus,” said 56-year-old Edlebeck as she stopped in the sea of blush to point to a bright pink Palm Tran bus displaying her picture among three other Warriors in Pink.

Her face lit up as she admired her picture featuring a rose behind her ear and another one in her hand.

“I’m just so thankful,” she said with a smile. “It’s great to see so many people out here who care. It’s reenergized me in a way I didn’t think was possible.”

In honor of her courage and grace through her breast cancer journey, the Komen foundation selected Edlebeck as a 2023 Warrior in Pink to help her share her story while representing her community. Standing behind her were her loved ones and her Florida Power & Light Company family, who as a team helped raise nearly $5,550 for breast cancer research.

Edlebeck's career blossomed at FPL in 2009 working on special projects for the company’s power plant fleet. She now supports FPL’s sister company, NextEra Energy Transmission, as a project director.

“I’m proud to be a part of the FPL family,” said Edlebeck as she sported an electric pink ‘powering the cure’ FPL hat. “The community we serve is our family, so supporting all these different causes, I think it’s an essential part of making FPL who we are. It’s part of our DNA.”

The partnership between FPL and the Komen Foundation holds strong after 31 years of support and sponsorship.

“Funds raised from the MORE THAN PINK Walk will further our ability to meet the needs of patients by supporting Komen’s patient care services, and we are thankful for partners like FPL who help us continue our mission in Florida each year,” said Sean Gross, Florida State Executive Director, at Susan G. Komen.

More than $380,000 was raised as part of the walk to help fund research breakthroughs -- providing new hope to everyone fighting breast cancer.

“It’s making a huge difference,” Edlebeck said. “I’m seeing the advances in medicine over the last seven years I’ve been battling breast cancer. I never would’ve thought it’d come out so quickly, so I’m excited for this to help fuel that research.”

Edlebeck’s breast cancer journey began in 2016 when she was diagnosed with the earliest form of breast cancer. She quickly had her tumor removed, started radiation via catheter, and was put on medications.

“Some days are tougher than others,” she said. “The radiation was really tough on me with brain fog and fatigue, but you have to fight.”

After four-and-a-half years, her ultrasound detected a cyst, which was biopsied and came back as invasive stage one breast cancer. She continues her fight now while adding different alternative methods like focusing on nutrition, managing stress and IV therapy.

While she won’t officially be declared cancer-free until she hits her five-year mark in three and a half years, Edlebeck said she’s felt much better this battle.

“She’s a fighter,” said Edlebeck’s 33-year-old daughter, Allyssa Richardson, with tears in her eyes. “She’s still here with me and that means the world.”

After being by her mother’s side through every step of her battle, Richardson said this journey has inspired her to become a nurse and to eventually use her experience to research finding a cure.

“I still believe we’re going to find a cure and that’s what keeps me going,” Edlebeck said with hope.