Survivor joins walk for cancer tonight

Published 12:02 am Thursday, October 21, 2010

With every lap around Channel-Lee Stadium tonight, Kay Donaldson will think of the importance of early detection in breast cancer.

Don-aldson, who is the Opp High School guidance counselor, is a one-year breast cancer survivor and has been an inspiration to the students at OHS.

Tonight, OHS SGA and HOSA members will host a community-wide walk-a-thon in which all proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

The event is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Channel-Lee Stadium.

The event will include the walk-a-thon, raffle, pink refreshments, souvenirs and guest speaker cancer survivor Wendy Ballard.

Donaldson knows the importance of yearly mammograms.

It’s something she’s done religiously since she was 40. It’s also something that saved her life, when last summer doctors found some problems with her annual mammogram, and a retest showed “something,” she said.

Donaldson said the next step was a biopsy, which showed it was cancer.

“I was just devastated,” she said. “Even though my prognosis was excellent, the ‘C’ word just gets you.”

The plans were to conduct a lumpectomy, or surgery in which only the tumor and some surrounding tissue is removed, and to undergo several weeks of radiation.

When surgeons could not determine a border to the tumor, they recommended a bilateral mastectomy.

“I had the mastectomy is October (2009) and reconstruction afterward,” she said. “No radiation. No chemo.”

Donaldson said her faith helped her through the process.

“My faith has always been extremely strong, so yes, my faith was that whatever happens, I’m going to get through it,” she said. “God is going to give me strength and he did. My family and friends were no supportive. My daughter would go on the Internet and find out things for me. My school family has been wonderful.”

Donaldson said everything is great now.

“I feel better than I have ever felt,” she said. “If someone had told me last October that I would be feeling this good, I would have thought they were crazy.”

Donaldson said it’s important for women to do their mammogram every year.

“I’m so touched by these students,” Donaldson said. “Cancer completely changes your life. Every day is truly a gift.”

Kay Donaldson