Community goes pink in support of neighbor with breast cancer
ST. MARTIN, Miss. (WLOX) - The Langley Point neighborhood in St. Martin is lit up in pink to raise awareness and support for breast cancer and the many lives it affects, including one of their own neighbors.
Brandy Stinson’s mother and grandmother both died at the age of 53 from breast cancer. Because of her family history, Stinson gets regular breast exams. Her most recent was in January and everything came back clear.
In June, she received letters from doctors suggesting she have a MRI done of her breasts because of her genetic markers for the disease. She had the MRI and the doctors found cancer in her breast tissue.
Earlier this month, she had a double mastectomy. During that surgery, doctors found cancer in her other breast. Fortunately, they were able to remove all of the cancerous tissue.
Wanting to show their love and support for Stinson, the Langley Point neighborhood got busy, working together to deck the neighborhood in pink.
Neighbors also signed up to feed Stinson and her family.
“We put together what we call ‘the meal train.’ There’s an app where you sign up once a month and provide meals for her family, so we did that for her, but we wanted to do more,” said Strayham. “We decided to go pink in Langley Point. Instead of waiting until after her surgery, we decided to do it before her surgery. She needed that love, support, and motivation before she went to surgery.”
Now, pink lights, ribbon, mesh and wrapping paper brightens up the neighborhood in honor of Stinson and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is each October.
“The day after her surgery, the first text we got back [from Stinson] was, ‘Ladies, I want you to know that seconds before I went to sleep for my surgery, I thought about the pink lights in the neighborhood,’” said Strayham. “We knew the mission was accomplished. We wanted her to go to sleep with hope and wake up with hope.”
Watching her friend face cancer head-on and bravely take it in stride has inspired Strayham, who said watching Stinson’s fight has motivated her to always keep faith during times of hardship.
“You always have to have hope. There’s always hope,” said Strayham. “You can have hope within yourself but, if you have people around you who convey that hope and reassurance, I think that gets you through it. No one has to go through this alone. We’ve had each other and gone through the ups and down of this.”
Fortunately, Stinson will not need further treatment because she caught the cancer in time.
According to BreastCancer.org, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Statistically, about one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Men are also at risk with about one in 833 males being diagnosed with breast cancer.
A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.
Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to find a breast cancer early, when it’s more likely to be treated successfully. For women at average risk, mammograms should also be performed annually beginning at age 40 to check the breasts for any early signs of breast cancer. If you have a higher risk of breast cancer, you and your doctor may decide that you will be start screening mammograms at a younger age.
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