Cancer Survivors & Caretakers Gain Strength Through Each Other

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

"It can't happen to me, I'm too young."

Those were the first thoughts that stung Linda Anderson’s heart when she was told she had breast cancer.

After the shock began to sink into reality, another fear came into the picture.

"I had just lost a brother the year before and he did not live but 11 days after he was diagnosed,” says Anderson.

Anderson is among many Wiregrass survivors and caretakers who attended a breakfast put on by the American Cancer Society.

The gathering brought friends, family and strangers together, giving all hope that cancer is not the end.

"The idea is that, you know, we can beat this thing, there are treatments, you know, the quality of life, you know just because you hear you have cancer doesn't mean that your life is over," says Adam O’Brian with the American Cancer Society.

While treatments take a toll on those with cancer, we often forget about the pain those taking care of them endure.

"The initial diagnosis felt like someone had punched me in the stomach, that's how I felt," says Kim Smith.

Smith’s husband was only 29 when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

She says times were challenging, but years later, that feeling has gone away.

"He's a six year survivor of brain cancer and he's doing fantastic, we've had three surgeries, we've had chemotherapy treatments, we've had radiation treatments but he still continues to work as a local district attorney," says Smith.

Both Anderson and Smith say the one thing that held them together through the rocky road to recovery were finding others to lean on.

If you would like more information on support groups, call the American Cancer Society at 794-0600.

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