Pinktober - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Pinktober

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HATTIESBURG - Debbie Thomson is the owner of Quail Hollow Design.  She said she found the purpose for her jewelry company when a friend was diagnosed with ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer. She created a line called "Designs of Hope" with pieces inspired by the disease.  Little did she know, she'd be designing the "Warrior Family" necklace for herself five years later.

"You know how when you wake up and you know something's happened in the morning and you say wait, something's different and you wake up and you go oh that's right you have cancer," Thomson said.

She began chemo treatments in August and will undergo a mastectomy after the first of the year.

She said she's usually a private person and didn't want anyone to know at first.

"I realized that God had given me an opportunity that it was not about me, that it was about making everybody aware how important and how prevalent all cancer is, but especially breast cancer, so that people could go out and do whatever preventative measures they could," Thomson said.

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All month, I've brought you stories of survival, hope and awareness. But promoting breast cancer awareness is not new to me. See, I come from a family of fighters, of survivors. My mom, grandmother and great-grandmother all beat breast cancer. This is their story.

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JONES CO. - There are some bonds between mothers and daughters that can never be taken away.

"We've weathered the storms, and we've been through a lot," said breast cancer survivor, Cynthia Bush. "We were close already, and this has just brought us even closer."

Minnie Robinson died last year, but not of breast cancer.  Her daughter, Arlene Temple, explained she was adamant about self breast exams.  After several lumpectomies when she was in her mid-70's, her doctor suggested a mastectomy, and she complied.

"She did well and lived several productive years after the surgery," Temple said.

She was 94 when she died.  Thanks to her mother's example, Temple was also faithful in conducting self-breast exams.  In 2009, she noticed a lump and asked her doctor to check it out.  It turned out to be stage 1 breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and underwent radiation.  Temple said even though it was a shock, she was fortunate.

"To me it was more important that it was caught early, and I dwell on that more so than just being terrified of the fact that I had breast cancer," Temple said.

She will take her last dose of preventative medication next month, the five year anniversary of living cancer free.

The same year Temple was diagnosed, Bush noticed unusual leakage from her breast.  She informed her doctor immediately.

"It was caught so early it was actually considered pre-cancer, not actually cancer," Bush said.  "But if it hadn't been for the self exam and yearly exam, no telling where it would've ended up."

 

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