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June 2013 Survivor of the Month – Gwendolyn Green
Gwendolyn Green’s Story
Gwendolyn Greene was first introduced to the Komen Coastal Georgia Affiliate at the 2013 Savannah Race for the Cure. The night before the race, our Survivor Committee hosts a Survivor Recognition Reception. Each survivor was invited to come onto stage and say their name and how many years they have been a survivor. Imagine our delight when a graceful older lady walked onto stage and introduced herself, telling the audience that she was a 45 year breast cancer survivor!
Her energy, her passion to help others and her eternal optimism made an impression on us, as well as many others that day. Therefore, it came as no surprise when several nomination forms arrived in our office with her name on them. Her story is touching, and reminds us all of how far we have come in fighting this disease. We are pleased to introduce Ms. Gwendolyn Green, a 45-year breast cancer survivor, as our June 2013 Survivor of the Month.
When asked to provide an overview of her journey with breast cancer, she wrote: “One weekend when I was in my mid-30s, I felt a small lump under my arm. I called the doctor on Monday to be examined and went to the hospital on Wednesday to get the cyst removed. The pathologist gave me the results, and said the cyst was benign, but my doctor wanted it to be tested again, and sure enough it was in fact cancer. I then underwent a radical mastectomy.Instead of the three day stay as promised, I ended up staying in the hospital for 33 days, having a total of three surgeries. At that time, there was no chemo available; therefore I had radiation and cobalt treatments for 30 days. Although this was a trying time for me and my family, I never complained because I felt truly blessed.”
“Most people hear the word ‘cancer’ and immediately think ‘death’. But I am a living witness that is not always the case”. Ms. Greene also would like to encourage both women and men to be proactive: know what is normal for you, check your breasts and get annual mammograms.She also encourages them to seek a doctor’s attention if they notice any changes, no matter how small the change may seem.
Ms. Greene was pleased to join her fellow breast cancer survivors at the 2013 Savannah Race for the Cure. It was the first time she had ever participated in a Komen Race, and she was impressed with the support that the organization gives to survivors and its efforts to ensure women (and men) are educated on what they should do and what services are available in Coastal Georgia. She told us she is already looking forward to the next Race, and in the meantime, she is committed to continuing her work to educate others about the importance of early detection.