Inspired by care, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital patient finds unique way to help children understand breast cancer
A Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital patient with a long family history of breast cancer, used her experience to write a children’s book, with the goal of helping youth understand the disease and its impact on the women in their lives.
Ashley Dedmon’s book titled “The Big Discovery” is an educational tool that helps families, especially children, navigate the difficult journey that breast cancer presents. The book’s foreword, or preface, was written by board-certified breast surgeon, Sandra Templeton, M.D., of Houston Methodist Breast Surgery Partners.
As a young woman, Dedmon lost her mother to breast cancer and watched her father battle prostate cancer. With a family history that includes three generations of women affected by breast cancer, Dedmon decided to undergo genetic testing and discovered she was BRCA 2 positive, a leading marker for the disease.
After undergoing extensive cancer monitoring for a decade, Dedmon sought out Templeton to discuss other options. Together, they developed a plan to prevent a possible occurrence of cancer – a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, which Templeton successfully performed in December 2016.
Inspired by the outstanding care she received from Templeton and the staff at Houston Methodist Sugar Land, Dedmon made the decision during her recovery to write “The Big Discovery.”
“There were times I felt so helpless, trying to make my two-year-old understand why I couldn’t hold her or pick her up,” Dedmon recalled. “It reminded me of when my mother was sick and how she felt trying to explain her cancer journey with me. I also reflected on my time as a teacher when I found that students who faced difficult life challenges needed someone to explain things to them in a way they could understand.”
“The Big Discovery” includes sections on early detection, testing and the diagnosis of breast cancer, as well as inspiring stories from survivors and open-ended questions to help prompt discussions with children.
“Ashley had to make a difficult decision for her own health and well-being, and she did so with courage and grace,” said Templeton. “But she didn’t stop there – she decided to use her experience, and those of other women in her life, to write ‘The Big Discovery’ and help others face their own challenges. It’s a valuable tool for women fighting breast cancer who have young children or grandchildren, and I’m proud to have been involved.”
Dedmon is now the founder of Pink Legacy 50/50, a platform that educates, equips and empowers individuals who are impacted by breast and ovarian cancer or who are at high-risk for cancer. Visit pinklegacy.com to order a copy of “The Big Discovery.”