Hometown Heroes Fight Against Breast Cancer

By Melanie Chapman | mchapman@kolr10.com

Published 10/04 2013 08:09PM

Updated 10/04 2013 08:35PM

Valerie Crocker and Tina MacManus share a laugh; they also share a story, a battle against breast cancer.

Tina is a 7-and-half year survivor.

"I was only given a 30 percent chance of surviving,” she says. “They gave me very aggressive chemotherapy and all I could think about was my son, who was 12 years old at the time, graduating from high school. That was my goal.”

Tina met that goal and Valerie still fights for her life, undergoing chemo every week.

"My outcome is not the greatest at this point,” says Valerie. “But that does not mean a cure can not be found and that's the reason we are doing this. To spread the word"

Valerie and Tina are among five women from southwest Missouri featured in “Portraits of Hope.”

Gayle Bodenhamer, Debra Long and Melanie Blair join them. All five women have stores to tell and they are living proof that cancer can be defeated.

"Our goal is that our children our grandchildren will never have to hear those words you have cancer,” says Valerie.

That's why these women will be joined by thousands of others walking in "Making Strides Against Cancer." The walk will take place later this month.

Survivors believe in the American Cancer Society and stress the importance of getting annual check-ups and mammograms. Tina believes that's likely why she's here today.

“I’m dong great now and the survival rate after five years is very high,” she says. “So I'm basically in the clear now. My son just graduated from high school, so I’ve met my goal. He’s off to college now."

Survivors say it’s the supporters, family members, friends and caregivers that help give those with cancer the strength to continue to live to walk for a cure.

Valerie believes there will be a cure and she plans to live to see it.

"We want this to stop,” she says. “We don’t want our family members, our friends, and our co-workers to have to go through what we've been going through. When you get down to it, it’s not fair whether you’re two, you’re ten, and you’re forty, even you’re eighty...cancer isn’t fair. We want it eradicated from our lives. We don't want to have to deal with it anymore."

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