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Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

55 LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS SHARE COMMON BOND By Donna Hurst others and daughters often share a special bond. But for Ruby Wilson and her daughter, Lisa Edwards Benford, that bond goes much deeper. In 2000, only two months after her annual mammogram came back normal, Wilson felt a movable lump in her breast. After further testing, Wilson, a nurse at The Methodist Hospital, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Eight years later, Wilson’s daughter learned she also had breast cancer. Both of them are now survivors and inspiring their friends and family, as well as the rest of the nation. Their stories attracted the attention of the Ford Motor Company, which named Wilson and Benford “Models of Courage” for 2012. They are two of the 11 women and men recognized for their strength and courage in the fi ght against breast cancer. As a result, Wilson and her daughter fl ew to Los Angeles to participate in the Models of Courage campaign to make their national debut as inspirational models for Ford Warriors in Pink® gear, benefi tting breast cancer research. “When I was diagnosed 12 years ago, I worried about taking care of my family,” Wilson says. “But when my daughter was diagnosed four years ago, I was glad it was me fi rst. I was able to help my daughter because she had seen me go through it.” LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE Wilson and Benford had their surgeries and treatment at the Methodist Cancer Center, both undergoing mastectomies with surgical removal of the left breast for Wilson and the right for her daughter. The procedures were followed by reconstructive surgery and chemotherapy. Faith and laughter kept the mother and daughter strong. “We always say I’m a ‘lefty’ and Lisa’s a ‘righty,’” Wilson jokes. Benford, who is a biological safety manager for the University of Houston, reviews a lot of clinical research protocols that come across her desk. Benford says she really lights up when she sees the ones for breast cancer and that they further inspire her and her mom to educate the community about the disease. “Mom and I do everything we can to tell people at our workplace, church and community about the importance of early detection,” Benford says. “Everyone needs to know that breast cancer is not a death sentence. Mine was stage 0 and had changed from one year to the next in the mammogram. My mom was doing her self-exam in the shower and found it soon after her annual mammogram. That’s why it’s critical to check yourself and get your mammogram.” “My mother was given to me as an example,” she adds. “If you look at a true Model of Courage, she’s it. We were already close, but when you go through something like this, it’s like wow, if you can get closer, you just did.” n To learn more about Methodist's cancer diagnostic and treatment services or to fi nd a specialist, visit methodisthealth.com/cancer or call 713-790-3333. M


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
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