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♡FAITH ♡ HOPE ♡ LOVE ♡ STRENGTH ♡ COURAGE ♡

The journey began April 2010 when I felt the lump in my left breast. On June 18th my normal changed. Not only was I a single mom of 3, (filed for divorce) and fighting for the safety of my kids and myself..... now I am fighting for my life to be with my kids. I took the negative and made a lot of positive! Cancer did not have me, never a victim only survivor strong. I did chemo Sept. To Dec. And I worked to support my family during. In Nov. I had my divorce finalized. I had a Double mastectomy Jan. 2011 then radiation. I did not begin reconstruction until June 2012 with a tram flap and a DIEP flap and have not completed due to my kids come first. I tried my hardest to keep the normalcy and got up each day and was there for my kids. I had and still have a great support system with my friends and family. They each had their special way of helping and making me smile and making memories. I wasn't the typical patient. My goal at each Dr. And treatment appointment was to have everyone smile or laugh. I am very THANKFUL & GRATEFUL for my journey. I have learned a lot and have given more. LOVING AND LOVING LIFE as if no tomorrow is guaranteed. My journey continues....side effects are becoming a new normal. My oldest son is in the Air Force, youngest son working and going to college, and my daughter in High School and I continue to work and going to college in the Fall. We just keep moving forward, with a SMILE =)

Janice Krause
Needles, CA

I'm alive because of what YOU DO!

In 1996 at the age of 39, I walked in the Arkansas Race For The Cure in celebration of Charolette Ashley. The women, the energy, the Pink Placards on women's backs, they inspired me. I went home that day & began monthly self exams (BSE). A year later I felt a lump that I KNEW wasn't there the month before. It was small, it was malignant, it was aggressive, and it had to go! A lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemo treatments for 6 months, a lot of prayers and here I am about to turn 57 😊 thanks to the support of my loving husband Joe, my incredible daughter Mollie, family, friends, my Guardian Angel, special ladies Sherrye M & Amy T ! It was hard but I didn't do it alone and I'm a better & stronger person because of the journey. I'M ALIVE BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU DO...THANK YOU!!! 😍

Mindy Baird
Little Rock, AR

My Second Battle With Cancer

Hi my name is Sherry Williamson. I decided to share my story, because today I was asked my story and I inspired her so much I thought maybe I could inspire someone who really needs to be inspired. My first diagnoses came in 2011 right after I broke my back in 5 places. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in that same month. My cancer was so aggressive that I had one lump in Oct and by Nov there was 8. Then in Dec it had spread to the lymphnodes in my left armpit and under my collarbone. When the decision came I chose to take both breast instead of one. I had a double mastectomy with left axillary dissection. I then followed with the most aggressive chemo and radiation. My health was so deteriorated I almost died in March 2012. But I fought hard, because my kids are my life and I'm all they got. I thought I was done with cancer, but in June of this year I found out I have stage 4 in the breast muscle, 9th rib and lungs. I have pain everyday not only from the cancer, but my other health issues. I have my broken back with nerve damage, fibromyalgia, a bad shoulder that needs surgery, cervical spondylosis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, lymphedema and so on. I was even told recently I may have MS, as I'm showing early signs. Regards of all that I'm facing with my financial burden, health and so on I feel that there's a reason for everything. I was asked "Why did God give you cancer?" I believe God didn't give me cancer. I believe there is a reason, whether it's to inspire someone or something else. I know that God will get me this. I get my strength from God and my two kids. I don't have any family besides my two kids and I have a limited amount of friends. Which means I don't have the support like most people do. So all I ask for is prayers when you read my story.

Sherry Williamson
Columbia Falls, MT

What a Shock

For the first time on the 26 September I had a McMillan coffee morning in honour of my friends partner who had died in August after a brave fight. It was a success I made lots of money for cancer and met some fantastic people.

However 2 weeks later I found a lump in my breast and after a whirl wind of tests it was confirmed as Grade 3 aggressive Tumour. This was removed on the 9 December with 3 lympth nodes we went back on the 19th to be told cancer was in 1 out of the 3 nodes and I would need further surgery plus chemo and radiotherapy (what a lovely Christmas present).

My Chemo started on 14th January the nurses were brilliant my first was awful was sick for 24hrs and ended up in hospital. Next 2 were better given good anti sickness tablets, the next 2 were awful and did not manage number 6, again the staff were fantastic I was so worried but gave me such support. Had lymph node clearance on the 14th May no more cancer all clear (thank god). My radiotherapy starts on the 31st July last leg I hope. I would like to say lots of Thank You's to all the staff that have supported me the NHS could not pay them enough. To my fantastic family and friends and also to my new grand daughter soon to be born. I am hoping to be around to see her grow up and also my fantastic grandson xxx I feel so blessed xx I was so scared and unsure what the future held for me (still are) but I know with the support of people around and a positive attitude and gods help and presence (he listened when I needed him most) we can beat this horrible disgusting disease .God Bless to you all xxxx

SUSAMN PIPER
BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom

I AM A WINNER

It was May-2008 and I went for my yearly mammogram from missing it for two years straight.

So the weekend went by and Monday I was getting my procedure of the biopsy done at West Shore hospital . I went and got prepped and first the doctor gave me a Valium to relax me because he had to take me down to the mammagram machine and put markers were the cancer was located to do the biopsy. So I stood at the mammagram machine and he marked the spots. He the pushed a wire through my skin to mark it. By the the fourth wire he looked at me and seeing the look on his face I knew he felt bad. He said" I am so sorry I can not finish this due to this hospital not having the right mammagram machine. He said he will have to send me to Grand Rapuds at the Lacks cancer center.

She then did a consultation and we had to meet a team of doctors very soon.

A few weeks later I went back to the Lacks Cancer center and met with a team of doctors. They talked about a lot of things my brain could not remember.

A few days later I get approx four mammagram a, a MRI( which the doctor wS puzzled she could not find any glow on that spot). Which to this day did not understand that. But after all that on November 21,2008 I had a Lattissimus Dorsi Flap reconstructive surgery the same time as my cancer surgery removal. I recovers and two months later received chemo for six months, and then in July I received the last reconstruction surgery. Now five years later I feel wonderful and feel I picked the right surgery.

Kimberly Marie
Traverse City, MI

I'm Making My Way Through!

Hello my name is Julie and I'm a breast cancer warrior. 2 weeks before my 25th b-day I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both of my breasts. I was told that I only had 2 1/2 yrs at best. In October of 2014 I will celebrate my 10 yr survivorship mark. I attribute my longevity to my Lord, loved ones & friends who have supported and given me strength when I thought I had none left. I especially owe a huge amount of gratitude to my husband David. He has supported me through it all. 1 month after I was diagnosed he married me without thinking twice. He makes me feel beautiful everyday of my life and he is truly blind to all of the scars my body has. To date I have undergone 13+ surgeries. However, I don't see my scars as something ugly to hide. They are my battle wounds. I proudly show them because they are a testament to my strength and determination to stay alive. I also managed to obtain my bachelors degree in criminal justice while I was bedridden. I managed to stay on the Dean's list the entire time. I did this for 2 reasons: 1- I always valued higher education and my wonderful husband gave me that gift. 2- it was important for me to show my 2 boys that if I can achieve that in the state that I was in, then there is no mountain that they can't conquer. I know I will never be the same Julie I was before this and that's OK. I'm stronger and take nothing for granted. I've always been a rebel and I rebel against that death sentence. There is still too much I need to see and do. My boys need their mom and I will see them through to adulthood. Any time I get after that is just icing on the cake. Don't let breast cancer define you, you define it. Where there's a will there's a way. So watch out world, Julie is still making her way through!

Julie Garcia
El Paso, TX

I am a Survivor!

I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in April, 2008. My mammogram in November 2007 did not show any abnormalities. On April 11, 2008, I felt a sore lump on my left breast. I saw my gynecologist ASAP. The lump I felt was actually a benign cyst sitting on top of a highly aggressive 4.5 cm cancer. Had it not been for the sore "lump", the cancer would have gone undetected from April until November (my next mammogram appointment). I believe the cyst was God's way for me to find the cancer.

My PET scan showed that it had spread outside the tumor. The tumor was "tagged and flagged" and I did four rounds of chemo. When I had surgery in July there was no trace of the tumor. Just the "flag". I did four more rounds of chemo after the lumpectomy and 34 rounds of radiation. I did very well on the chemo. Of course I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes (as well as other places), and I had some pretty bad days and nights. My skin did not burn at all during radiation, just turned a beautiful shade of brown. I had wonderful doctors and chemo nurses, and my precious husband and family who took great care of me. After my chemo and radiation, I also did an additional year of Herceptin.

I have been cancer free for six years this month. God is an awesome God. I did everything my doctors told me to do and my husband and family took GREAT care of me. Prior to any treatment, I had my church pray over me. I do believe that even though I had to go through the process, God did heal my cancer. I worried that I would live the rest of my life in fear of the cancer returning. God has taken that fear away from me. As any cancer survivor will tell you, your life is changed. But it is for the better. You live each day knowing that each day is a blessing and that life is WONDERFUL! God is GOOD!

Deborah
Suches, GA

Not just surviving,but THRIVING!!!!

With fibrocystic breast, I thought hmmm it' s probably just a lump...but I better get it checked out...a mammogram, sonogram and needle biopsy later.. the phone call and the diagnosis...I felt absolutely NUMB...but then I remembered what an awesome God I served and that He was my Healer!... Stage I with clean nodes, my lumpectomy was scheduled with a return for clean margins. My port was placed and I received the 4 rounds of TC with minimal side effects (went to Myrtle Beach after the last round) I completed 33 rounds of radiation, had my port removed and started the Tamoxifen. I was 51 years old when I was diagnosed with no family history. The support and love from my family and friends was INCREDIBLE!!!!,,, I just celebrated 1 year cancer free with a trip to Cancun. My encouragement to you is that God is a healer just trust Him through the process!

Robin Walker
Alexandria, VA

27 years cancer free

27 years ago I heard that dreaded word "cancer" first I cried then I got mad. Cancer was not going to defeat me.

I had a right modified radial mastectomy. At first I was afraid to look at where my breast had been. A close friend was with me when I took the bandages off and looked at my scare. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. With the help of my friend I was able to get through that tough moment.

I had chemo once a week for a year. I was one of the lucky ones. I never lost my hair and never got really sick. I continued to work 2 jobs. It helped me feel alive.

I had a good support system. My family and friends kept me laughing. I now go once a year for a mammogram and blood work to check to see if I am still cancer free

I have beat cancer!!!!

Liz Butler
Grants Pass, OR

Breast Cancer Twenty Five Years Ago

Twenty five years ago I was told I had breast cancer.I had my left ed breast remove and had chemo.I felt like I was ugly, being punish for my life.My husband and daughters helped me get threw it.I lost all my hair and I brought a wig and I did lunchroom duty at school and one boy saw I was wearing a wig and pulled it off.I ran out of the room crying feeling ashame.Haveing breast Cancer was so hard my four daughters where young.My one daughter enter a father's day contest saying how her daddy was there for me taking care of the kids cleaning.And she won .Her dad was so proud.If it wasn't for my family I don't know what I would have done.

Dee Starkey
Philadelphia, PA
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