St. Bernards honors two breast cancer survivors

St. Bernards honors two breast cancer survivors

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - St. Bernards honored two breast cancer survivors Sunday at the Warrior Women Hall of Honor reception.

This year's honorees are Patty Parnell- a survivor since 1988-and Felecia Parks - a survivor since 2013.  These women will join the other breast cancer survivors who have been recognized over the past few years. The women's portraits will be added to the "Warrior Women Survivor Wall in the women's services section of the Imaging Center.

"The cancer may have entered into my body but I couldn't allow it to enter into my heart and my soul," said cancer survivor and honoree, Felecia Parks.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 just 6 years after her mother and sister received the same news.

"The odd of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8," she said. "It is so important to get your mammograms done, they do save lives.”

Parks said getting a mammogram helped doctors detect the cancer early.  But for Patty Purnell, the second honoree, she found a lump in her breast while doing a self-exam. She was diagnosed in 1977 at the age of 47.

"That was altered into 6 months of chemotherapy and five months later almost to the day I had another recurrence," Purnell said. 

The second recurrence turned into 6 more months of chemotherapy and 47 treatments of radiation. But she was not out of the woods yet.

"In 2005 I had it again, so I'm a three time winner," Purnell said. 

She said she advises women to have a good medical team, to stay focused and have a strong support system. She said there have been so many changes in treatment and awareness since she was diagnosed in the '70's.

"It's nothing compared to what it was," she said. "The therapy has come so far that we and I don't care to tell you I was sick," she said. 

October is Beast Cancer Awareness month so it's important to take the necessary steps to detect the disease in its early stages.

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