Meet Ginger Brooks-Komen Ozark BigWig and 8 Year Survivor!

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Komen Ozark is proud to feature one of our BigWigs and Breast Cancer Survivor, Ginger Brooks!  Come cheer on Ginger and watch the other 9 BigWigs walk the runway at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon on Friday, October 2 from 11:30-1pm at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale.  Tickets are still available at http://www.komenozark.org.

Ginger’s Story

A Mammogram saved my life!

You never know how you will react when you hear the words “You have cancer”.  I had thought about this before, and thought that I would not be able to handle it.  But on August 27th, 2007 (my son’s 11th birthday), I heard those words, and after shock and tears, we (my family and friends) put on our boxing gloves and went on to fight!

I had had mammograms before, and with dense breasts, I always got called back.  In 2007, I was late getting my mammogram appointment scheduled and my husband, Chris kept urging me to get it.  Well, they called me back for a second mammogram, and then back again for an ultra-sound, because the radiologist “didn’t like what he saw”.  Well, that turned out to be a Stage 1 diagnosis, caught early.

I had an MRI to ensure there was only 1 tumor and I was a great candidate for a lumpectomy.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get clear margins and went for a second lumpectomy 2 weeks later.  The pathology report showed that not only did I not have clear margins again, but a second tumor was found.  After much prayer and research, we decided that a double mastectomy was right for us.  We also research post treatment options, chemo, tamoxifen and determined, along with my doctors that 5 years of tamoxifen was right for me.  In 2014, I opted for a full hysterectomy to fully protect myself and starve the cancer out!

I have been cancer free 8 years now and feel very fortunate that we had great doctors, an observant radiologist, and very good medical coverage.  It is important to be a participant in your care, understand your diagnosis, and enlist your friends to help!  It takes an army of friends to help you and your family through the process.  I was fortunate to have family, friends and co-workers at my side through the entire time!

I am very passionate about everyone being screened, but not everyone has access to the care that I did and Komen helps fill that gap.  I am also passionate about finding a cure. I have a close friend who was diagnosed 2 weeks before me, she battled for over 5 years, but she lost that fight.   I also, have a younger sister and 9 year old niece, both will be watched carefully.  I pray that my niece will NEVER have to worry about battling this terrible disease.  So when I was asked to be an inaugural BigWig, I jumped at the chance!  I took my BigWig to Facebook and email, and literally around the world!  What a better way to spread the word, that we can save lives and find a cure!!!

Things to know:

  1. Get your mammogram and encourage your family and friends to do the same
  2. Be a participant in your care, know your diagnosis and understand your options
  3. Don’t go it alone. Your family and friends want to help, let them!
  4. Be gentle with yourself, recovery takes time
  5. Support Komen as they research for a cure!

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