Breast Cancer Survivor Credits Local Organization For Saving Life

Tuesday, September 15th 2015, 11:23 pm
By: LeAnne Taylor

Each year, thousands of people lace up their shoes to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

But where does some of that money raised actually go, and who does it help? Well, one Tulsa woman tells her story of how her life was saved because of the generosity of others.

Christie Hutchison is a woman on the go. She's been selling real estate for the last nine years with her husband Donnie by her side.

Being self-employed, they don't have health insurance, so the two would take turns going in for their annual checkups. What Christie didn't realize, was she hadn't had a mammogram in quite some time, so Donnie encouraged her to go in.

"I wasn't expecting any kind of problems. No family history, no problems with mammograms for the last 20 years. Yes, it had been four years since I'd had one, but I wasn't expecting anything," she said.

Christie had been given a voucher for a mammogram through Oklahoma Project Woman, a local organization that helps women like Christie get one for free.

Anne Bogie, with Oklahoma Project Woman said, "We became Oklahoma Project Woman about three years ago. During that time we've taken care of more than 35,000 women, so just last year we saw more than 4,000 women."

For Christie, her mammogram led to a diagnosis of breast cancer - a rare and aggressive form called triple negative.

"I always tell everybody this piece of paper saved my life because it had a 60 day expiration date. So I went in to have my physical in September; if this had been longer I may not have gone. My oncologists all tell me it would have made itself known very rapidly."

Christie believes by then her cancer would have spread and could have been fatal. She said she has Oklahoma Project Woman to thank.

"They took care of the biopsies, they arranged all the hospital costs for my breast surgery, my breast surgeon, so it's not just a mammogram. If you are one of those women, they help you through that whole process."

Oklahoma Project Woman is one of several local agencies that have benefited from money raised through Komen Tulsa.

"Currently, Komen provides here in Tulsa more than ten percent of our budget, so we are very grateful to partner with them," Bogie said.

Christie and Donnie will be at this year's race, knowing the money raised might just save someone else.

Since 1997, Komen Tulsa has invested more than $5.5 million in local breast health and breast cancer awareness projects, and more than $2 million in national research grants.

This year's Komen Race for the Cure is coming up Saturday, September 26th at ONEOK Field. There's still time for you to get registered, donate or volunteer.

You can get more information here.