St. Bernards honors cancer survivors in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - St. Bernard's Women Services hosted a special event Sunday evening at the Imaging Center in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming up in October.

The staff honors a breast cancer survivor by adding her to the Warrior Women Wall of Fame at the Imaging Center.

Mary Kathryn Berry, who was diagnosed in 1988, was the honoree.

Berry said because of her experience she started a support group for women like her in Region 8.

"There was none available at that time, and I realized the need that we had for northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri. For anyone that has had breast cancer they've got to have help, but you've got to know what you're talking about, and therefore you have to have had it."

After her diagnosis Berry established the Northeast Arkansas Breast Cancer Support Group.

Mary Kathryn Berry's is the tenth picture to hang in the Warrior Women Survivor Hall. "There is a light at the end of tunnel," she said.

Berry said for her, getting to the light meant facing the truth about her health back in 1988 when she already knew what a mammogram would confirm.

"Being a nurse you deny things, and I knew through breast self exam that I had breast cancer, but I denied it for a while."

After a left mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy more than 20 years ago, family and friends gathered at the Imaging Center to celebrate Berry's will to live.

One of those friends is Vanessa Esters. A survivor since 2009, Esters considers herself a friend of Berry even though the two women do not know much about each other.

"Whether I knew her personally or not, it's just being that survivor, knowing that it's people that care, that makes a difference," Esters said. "You don't know until you've been through it, and you do need that support group."

For more information about the Northeast Arkansas Breast Cancer Support Group call Carol-Kay Moore at (870) 932-4321 or (870) 919-5251.

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