Helping people with cancer has become Mary Brown’s life mission.
You can see it in her home, where she has a Cancer Christmas tree year-round. In her bathroom, which is decorated in pink. With the pin she wears every day – pink, gold or silver—the Avon Breast cancer pin. You can hear it when she speaks before organizations and church groups about cancer awareness. When she takes newly diagnosed patients under her wing for a year to give them someone to talk to, pray with, share their thoughts. And you can experience it in April or October when she works on events to raise money for Horizons Community Solutions, such as the Divas & Desserts event at the Albany Civic Center. Or the Albany area Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. Or the Night for Hope for Horizons.
Mary also volunteers for Phoebe Putney Medical Center, where in October, 1998, she went into congestive heart failure while undergoing a biopsy for the lump she felt in her breast. When she finally became conscious at the end of that week, she was in for another shock: the biopsy had been positive, she had cancer; more specifically IDC, invasive or infiltrating ductal carcinoma.
The ensuing months were very trying – she had bacterial infections, pneumonia, breast surgery, lymph node removal and chemotherapy. And health challenges continued over the years. She was diagnosed with cancer in the other breast in 2005, fell and broke her elbow, had knee issues, and problems hearing.
But, always, she maintained her faith. “I think I’m doing what God wants me to do,” she says, “I am touching a lot of lives.”
Mary has always been a nurturing person. She’s been there for her four children and helped special needs students in her job as a para-professional in the Dougherty County school system. She visits the nursing home weekly to see her Aunt and the ladies from the church who are there. She participates in support groups and reminds those going through cancer that they are not alone.
Her message is “please pay attention to your body” and “celebrate your life every day.” She says, “Cancer cannot take way your faith, shatter your hope or lessen your love. It cannot destroy your friendship, invade your soul or take away your eternal life. It cannot conquer your spirit. Remember,” she says, “to live, laugh and love, and always, walk by faith and not by sight.”
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