Basin Electric employees reflect on cancer battles


(From left) Erica Petrowitz and Alyssa Binstock, with boxing gloves signed by Erica’s friends and given to her during her battle with breast cancer.

“When it rains look for rainbows, when it’s dark look for stars.” – Oscar Wilde

Cancer survivors Erica Petrowitz, Dakota Gasification Company Human Resources manager, and Alyssa Binstock, Basin Electric financial analyst II, have learned to find rainbows through the rain, and stars twinkling in the darkness.

In honor of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Petrowitz and Binstock reflect on their journeys, and the good to be found on the other side of their battles with cancer.


Erica Petrowitz (left) appreciated the support she received from friends, family and co-workers.

Petrowitz’s journey began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer Oct. 13, 2015.

She had surgery Nov. 14, 2015, then started 16 weeks of chemotherapy treatment Jan. 7, 2016. Today, she is cancer free.

She was an open book almost from the beginning.

“I’ve talked about and chronicled the whole journey,” Petrowitz says. “I didn’t know much about it so that’s why I wanted to be so open and inform others who are diagnosed but might not know much about breast cancer, too.”

Two positive outcomes have come of her battle with cancer.

Instead of a fundraiser for Petrowitz at Dakota Gas, since she had already gotten such great support, she suggested a fundraiser for others instead. That idea spawned a fundraiser at the Hazen movie theater, where the community watched Pretty in Pink, dressed in ‘80s attire, held a silent auction – and raised $1,700 for the Edith Sanford Foundation to assist local women who couldn’t afford 3D mammograms. Petrowitz hopes to make it an annual event.

Also, since the seventh day of the month holds special significance for Petrowitz – MRI and biopsies done Oct. 7, and started chemo Jan. 7 – she started posting reminders to her friends on Facebook the seventh of every month to perform self-exams.

Hear the rest of Petrowitz’s story: Erica Petrowitz reflects on her battle with cancer


Alyssa Binstock was diagnosed with cancer April 17, 2015.

Binstock received her diagnosis April 17, 2015. She underwent 16 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by surgery in October 2015 and further radiation. She is now cancer free.

Doctors told her she was part of the 10-15 percent to defeat her specific type of cancer.

“I was very lucky; very lucky,” Binstock says.

Throughout the treatments, she appreciated support from her friends, family and coworkers at Basin Electric.

“The support especially at Basin was amazing. Right before the surgery they did a benefit here, taco in a bag, jeans day, bake sale… It was overwhelming,” Binstock says. “I was actually glad I was out of town at Mayo at that time because it would’ve been a lot of crying.”

Hear the rest of Binstock’s story: Alyssa Binstock reflects on her battle with cancer

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