BRAvo dancer profile: Michele Beitelshees and Dr. Michael Wagner

Even before her diagnosis, Michele was determined to never let breast cancer get the better of her.
Dr. Michael Wagner and Michele Beitelshees

"I am very proactive, especially when it comes to my health," she said. "I would always have my regular mammogram. I would get the 3D mammogram, get ultrasounds. I would routinely self-check."

She refused to neglect her health and ignore possible symptoms. So when she felt pain in her breast, she wasn't leaving anything to chance.

"To think that it was just breast pain and not cancer, I just couldn't believe it," Michele said. "I had to trust my instinct."

Following an appointment with her physician, a biopsy was performed and, as she suspected, came back positive for breast cancer. That day was October 23, 2015.

Because of her dedication to her own good health, the cancer she found was in an early stage-very treatable and not yet causing her many of the more discomforting symptoms.

Offered chemotherapy, Michele chose against it, deciding instead to have a double mastectomy.

Since the day of her surgery-January 5, 2016-Michele has lived with a clean bill of health. She jumped at the opportunity to help spread awareness for this illness from which she was thankfully spared but knows causes grief and heartache to countless others.

"I'm the biggest supporter of breast cancer awareness, period," she said. "And this is such an inspiring event, full of tears of happiness and love. I hope it goes on for years because cancer doesn't seem to stop."

A dancer with a wealth of experience and BRAvo attendee for many years (even before her diagnosis), she's beyond excited to perform at this year's event.

Though eager to support the event, Dr. Michael Wagner might have a hard time matching his partner's level of excitement. But he didn't think twice when offered the chance to play a role in bringing awareness to this illness.

Even if it meant dancing in front of a capacity crowd.

"To say that I might have been a little reluctant is an understatement," the orthopedic surgeon said with a laugh. "But it's a new challenge and I want to face it head on. Plus, once I met Michele, how could I not have done this?"

Dr. Wagner has been lucky in that he and his family have never had to personally confront cancer, but BRAvo and other awareness event where he meets patients helps add to the level of care he provides.

"This puts a face to the disease," he said. "Meeting survivors, their families and patients currently in treatment is incredibly inspirational. It reminds us, as physicians, why we do this and who we do this for. It's definitely why I do what I do."

To learn more about cancer care at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Macomb, visit

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BRAvo 2017
Mammograms are The Girls' Best Friend

5 p.m., Tues., Oct. 17
New location! The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township

To learn more about BRAvo or to reserve tickets to this year's event, visit

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