Iowa House members honor north-central Iowa legislator’s daughter who died of inflammatory breast cancer

DES MOINES — Members of the Iowa House are wearing ribbons today in honor of the daughter of a north-central Iowa representative who died of a rare form of breast cancer last Friday.

35-year-old Mary Chinnock, the daughter of State Representative Jane Bloomingdale of Northwood, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer.

State Representative Shannon Lundgren of Peosta says there’s no lump with this type of cancer.

“Inflammatory breast cancer is hard to detect,” Lundgren said this morning. “It is rare that it happens in a woman of Mary’s age.”

Several House members, including Lundgren, are driving to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to attend a visitation for Mary this evening and the funeral tomorrow morning. Josh Wilson, a clerk in the Iowa House, came up with the idea of distributing ribbons to everyone on the House floor today.

“I actually lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 19. She was 40 years old and she was a school teacher in the Waterloo Public Schools and at that time the Waterloo schools all wore pink ribbons in memory of my mom and it was such a special thing for me and my family,” Wilson said. “I just remember how powerful that was for me and so I wanted to do that for Representative Bloomingdale.”

The ribbons Wilson distributed today are pink and orange, with a little black intertwined. It’s a design developed by an Inflammatory Breast Cancer awareness group.