Cancer survivor addresses Rotarians

Published 6:51 pm Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“Conquering Challenges, Sharing Survival” was the subject of an emotional Brundidge Rotary Club meeting Tuesday.

Beverly Helton, assistant to the state director for USDA Rural Development in Alabama, is a one-year breast cancer survivor, but her struggles have made her the woman she is today.

As a member of Women of Hope Resource Center, Inc in Montgomery, she has been sharing her story of breast cancer survival for the last six to eight months with men and women who are unaware of cancer or battling it themselves.

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According to the American Cancer Society’s 2009 statistics, there were 192,370 new cases of women diagnosed, 1,910 men diagnosed, and 40,610 deaths from breast cancer.

Helton’s survival was more than just a physical battle — it was an emotional one.

With the fears, disbeliefs and her declining health compounding, Helton still found the brighter side of things.

“When I was diagnosed I didn’t even want to see pink,” said an emotional Helton. “It reminded me that I had breast cancer, but now I’m appreciative because now I can help someone else like someone helped me. I now wear the pink ribbon proudly.”

Helton spoke of struggles and the reconstruction portion of her entire life with breast cancer. She suffered with Shingles and Bells Palsy after chemotherapy.

Helton said that when things were dark and discouraging, she found the little things that still made her laugh. She built friendships and new relationships that she would have never made without having breast cancer. Through her struggles, she was still able to find the good in her condition.

“I never would’ve thought I would be so open about this,” Helton said as she continued to share her personal testimony. “I am really proud to be a breast cancer survivor. It’s not about me. I’m only a representative.”

Helton suggested that every man and woman should have monthly self examinations. She encouraged her listeners to seek a doctor that could teach them what to search for because no two breast cancers are alike.