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Morning Sun
  • Group holds breast cancer candlelight vigil

  • Every pink ribbon tells a story, and some of those stories were told Wednesday during the 14th annual breast cancer candlelight vigil at Pittsburg State University Lake.



    The event was made possible through the efforts of the Early Detection Works Program, Crawford County Health Department and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

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  • Every pink ribbon tells a story, and some of those stories were told Wednesday during the 14th annual breast cancer candlelight vigil at Pittsburg State University Lake.
    The event was made possible through the efforts of the Early Detection Works Program, Crawford County Health Department and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
    “My ribbon starts seven years ago when I took this position as southeast Kansas regional nurse for the Early Detection Works Program,” said Stephanie M. Thompson. “Its peak is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as it comes around, the ribbon tells the story of my life. But my ribbon has a hole in the center because my mom is gone.”
    Her mother, Katherine “Kathy” Mitchell, 60, Girard, died Sept. 21 after a four-year battle with breast cancer.
    “Four years ago on this date my mother had her first chemotherapy treatment, and Dr. Boban Mathew asked her  what she wanted to accomplish in her life,” Thompson said. “She didn’t have an answer then, but decided that she was going to live life one day at a time. She lived that for four years. She did not lose her battle with breast cancer. She won, because I know where she is now.”
    Kelly York, Early Detection Works outreach coordinator, noted that she and Thompson had been touched by cancer many times during the past year.
    “I have three aunts who are surviving with breast cancer,” York said. “A few years ago a young woman, Sarah Burkybile, stood up here and told everybody exactly what it was like to be 27 years old and have breast cancer. She became a weapon, and wanted everyone to know she was fighting this battle. Through her we were introduced to Hope 4 You. On Aug. 27 Stephanie and I went and sat with Sarah and held her hand. About three days later she was gone.”
    York presented the annual Inspiration of Hope Award to the Via Christi Wellness on Wheels mammography van team. Members are Wendy Handshy, mammographer, who accepted the award, Donna Gillard, medical secretary, Annette VanAm, nurse practitioner, and Linda Stotler, RN, who does case management.
    Speaker was breast cancer survivor Jodi Adams.
    “In December it will be five years,” she said. “I was only 30, a happy,  healthy mother of three and I felt fine. That little lump I found during a self-examination was supposed to be nothing.”
    Adams said she had no history of breast cancer in her family.
    “Breast cancer can strike any female, or male, of any age, with no family history,” she said. “My family history starts with me.”
    Adams said she made it through her cancer treatment with the help of her family, and her three children also spoke.
    “I was in the room with my mom, dad and the others when the doctor said she had cancer,” said Max Adams, 14. “My mom was sick and her beautiful hair was gone. Later on, I received the best news I ever had and ever will have, my mom is cancer-free. So  spread the news, wear pink and get screened to other moms and sisters can beat the heck out of cancer like my mom did.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Daughter Molly Adams, now 10, was only 6 when her mother was diagnosed.
    “I thought she was just sick, like a cold,” she said. “We ate casseroles every night. There are so many kinds of casseroles. We had to stay downstairs, and that was good because my brothers had to be quiet.”
    The youngest, son Mitch, 9, was only 5 when Adams battled cancer, but was very much aware of that his mother was sick.
    “My mom was beautiful bald,” he said. “I would write poems and draw pictures of her. Cancer is not just a disease, it’s a murderer.”
    Music was provided by the Vogts Sisters. The evening closed with the lighting of the candles and group reading of the benediction.

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