05/29/09 — Tonya's message: Perseverance and determination win battles against cancer

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Tonya's message: Perseverance and determination win battles against cancer

There will plenty of time to talk about the great joy and stories that go along with tonight's Relay for Life events.

But as the weekend begins, now is the time to pass on the message sent by Tonya Matthews, the woman who so graciously shared her story during the 2009 Survivors Banquet last night.

Ms. Matthews had doctor after doctor tell her she did not have anything to worry about and that the inflammation she had in her breast was nothing.

She pushed, cajoled and insisted until she got the tests she needed that told her that the mass she was feeling was indeed cancer.

Her message to every woman -- and man -- out there is not to take no for an answer.

She encouraged them to do the self-exams, to get checked regularly and to never, ever, just accept a diagnosis if some nagging something makes them think that there is reason to keep looking.

And while the money raised at the Relay for Life will help with the battle against cancer, the truth is that patients who are knowledgeable and get the checkups and care they need are the power behind the strides that are beating cancer.

Early detection and patient awareness just made that battle plan even stronger.

So, in Ms. Matthews' honor and in memory of all the men, women and children who are fighting or who have lost their battles with cancer, don't put off the checks that could save your life.

Get that Pap smear, that mammogram or the mole checked -- and don't forget about the dreaded colonoscopy and prostate exam.

While they might be an inconvenience and sometimes not too pleasant, they give you the weapons you need to save your life.

You owe it to yourself -- and to the family who loves you.

Published in Editorials on May 29, 2009 11:02 AM