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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Local jewelry owner shines despite battle with breast cancer

Karin Volz

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and one local business owner has both weathered the disease and helped her Marquette interns earn valuable business – and life – experience.

Karin Volz and Kloiber Jewelers has been hiring Marquette students as interns for the past 15 years and helping them earn credits toward graduating for the past six.

Volz is the owner of Kloiber Jewelers, a full-service jewelry shop located at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. In 1992, Volz was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer at age 44.

“It felt like the floor had fallen out from under me,” Volz said, recalling the day she was diagnosed.

Volz said she was with a client when the doctor called her at work to deliver the daunting news.

At the time, Volz was employed by Clyde Kloiber, former owner and youngest son of store founder Frank Kloiber. Volz said she was lucky Clyde was a “wonderful employer” to her when she found out, offering her support and making sure she could receive whatever treatments were necessary.

She said he was willing to pay her for days she had to miss while undergoing a year of treatment. Then in 2001, Volz inherited the jewelry shop from Kloiber.

“I’m a survivor,” Volz said, referring to her battle with the deadly disease years ago.

But she did not go as far to say she was cured. Volz said her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a reoccurrence 20 years after her original diagnosis.

But she is cautiously optimistic, saying she is now feeling great and in good health, but lightheartedly knocking on wood at one point during the interview.

Since her diagnosis with breast cancer and subsequent treatment, Volz said she has had the opportunity to reach out to other women who have been diagnosed. She said she looks to give them hope and support. According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Specifically, she said she volunteers in the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program, where breast cancer survivors meet with people facing a diagnosis or who have already been diagnosed. She said she is especially saddened to see the number of young people who are diagnosed and have to deal with the disease.

“When you see a woman in her 20s that has been diagnosed, it is just so young and so sad,” she said. “And we have no idea about why or how they got it.”

The disease is diagnosed in about one in eight women, according to the National Cancer Institute, making it the most common cancer for women, excluding skin cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is greatest from the ages 60 to 69, with 3.45 percent of women of those ages being diagnosed.

Other factors also increase or decrease the likelihood of a diagnosis, including family history, reproductive history and race/ethnicity, according to the site.

As with all types of cancer, early detection is key for effectively treating breast cancer, and the American Cancer Society recommends that women older than 40 get a mammogram every year to detect the cancer cells.

Maria Owens, a junior in the College of Communications, interns at Kloiber Jewelry and said she is impressed by Volz’s passion and love of the business, but also her day-to-day demeanor.

“Her attitude toward life is inspiring,” Owens said. “She appreciates every day given to her … You can tell she is just living her life to the fullest.”

Mary Turner, a full-time employee at the jewelry shop, said Volz is “very strong.”

Turner said although neither she nor Owens knew Volz when she was diagnosed, she imagines Volz dealt with it in the same way she runs the store. When difficult situations come up, she always keeps a positive attitude and believes “that something good will come out of this.”

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