Cathey Daniels – “Paying It Backwards”


In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, we would like for you to hear from a true hero.  Mrs. Cathey Daniels is a cancer survivor who lives life to the fullest and is passionate about helping others.  An Art Teacher at New Madrid County Central Middle School, she is a regular attendee at the annual Ben Kruse 18 FORE Life banquet.  Mrs. D, thank you for inspiring all of us to cherish each moment and continue working to help area families battle this dreaded disease.

By Cathey Daniels ([email protected])

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Women across America are reminding daughters, sisters, and mothers to self-check and get a mammogram. There are no valid excuses to skip either one of these.

In October, 2003, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had had seventeen years of mammograms and was very conscientious about self-exams. In 1975, a month after my daughter was born, I found a lump in my breast and had a biopsy and the lump removed. It was benign. Twenty-eight years later, that scar tissue was cancerous! Nothing unusual showed on the mammogram, but I had an inner instinct that knew that something was wrong. Perhaps the fact that I had lost my only brother to brain cancer only a month before made me more aware. Whatever the reason, I moved quickly, had cooperative, understanding, and knowledgeable doctors, and lots of people praying for me. After a radical mastectomy, I received 8 treatments of chemo. It was an awesome experience! I continued to teach, had no adverse reactions to the medicines, except for being very tired, and grew spiritually in ways that I cannot explain.

Today, I take no medication, and am cancer free! I still have blood work every 4 months, but that is a small price to pay for living. Cancer is a horrible word. Just hearing that you have it takes your breath away. But, research is moving at a fast pace, thanks to heightened awareness.

Of course, now it is my responsibility to try to encourage as many women (and men) with cancer as I can. And, I have two daughters and two granddaughters whom I want to save from this disease. I guess you would say that I’m “paying it backwards” instead of “forward”. In 2004, Dr. Salamat, his nurse, Kim Peters, Dr. Reintjes, and I started a “Breast Cancer Support Group” at Missouri Delta Medical Center. We now have approximately 70 on our mailing list and 15-20 who attend the meetings at the hospital on alternate months. If you know of anyone who needs encouragement, contact me, so that I may invite them to the meetings. In August, Kim Peters shared “The Lydia Project” with our group, and The Standard-Democrat covered the story. This grass-roots organization supplies a hand-made bag full of treats (a journal, lotion, pen, etc.) to any female cancer patient in the United States. Now, our Support Group is helping supply these to women in our area. For more information on this, contact Kim Peters at [email protected]. In addition, I believe that Relay for Life is a worthwhile organization for raising funds for research. Without the breakthroughs in breast cancer research of the last twenty-five years, I would just be a statistic. Of course, 18 Fore Life is an excellent avenue to helping cancer patients. I applaud and support this organization for the tremendously unselfish way that they disperse the funds that they raise. Opening an envelope with an unexpected check in it, with no strings attached, brings encouragement, love, and knowledge of real concern to the recipient.

Cancer is a monster! But—through the efforts of individuals and organizations who strive to make life safer and more bearable and with the help of God-given knowledge, the monster will be destroyed!

If you or someone you know has an inspiring story of battling cancer or surviving cancer and would like to share it with us, please use our contact page to get in touch with us.

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