Oklahoma's Own Fight Back Against Breast Cancer

Saturday, September 17th 2011, 1:32 pm

By: News On 6

Emily Baucum, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every 13 minutes one of them dies from the disease.

With the clock ticking, thousands of Oklahomans laced up their running shoes and raced for a cure this morning. Marching to the beat of their own drummers, hundreds of breast cancer survivors fought back.

"Wave everybody!" said Teresa Caldwell.

Teresa Caldwell is one of them. Her story begins nearly four years ago.

"Nothing was found on the ultrasound, but when I went for my mammogram they found spots. I had seven biopsies. They all came back with cancer," Caldwell said.

It was a terrifying diagnosis that changed her life forever.

"I wanted it out instantly," she said. "How long do I have to live? I really thought, okay, I'm going to die."

Teresa endured surgery plus 39 rounds of radiation that left her with third-degree burns.

"I went into a fight mode. I never gave up," she said.

Persistence paid off. The treatments worked - Teresa survived breast cancer. The good news didn't stop there.

"Almost a year to the day that I was diagnosed with cancer I found out I was pregnant," she said.

9/17/2011 Related Story: Saturday Declared LeAnne Taylor Passionately Pink Day

This was Teresa's second year walking in the Race for the Cure. Her team name is called Grateful Hearts. She's grateful her kids are here with her, and she calls it a very emotional experience.

"I told my team, bring Kleenexes because when you see the tags on everyone's back - in memory of, still fighting, or even the butterfly wall up there - it's so emotional," said breast cancer survivor Teresa Caldwell.

Teresa's still in remission - and has one more reason to celebrate.

"Today is my birthday. I turn 43 today," she said.

And there's only one present on her wish list.

"Go get your mammogram if you haven't got one yet," she said. "One of my friends came by my house yesterday and she said, 'I missed my mammogram last year, but I'm going to do it on Monday.' And I said, 'I will be calling you on Monday if I have to set it up myself.'"

Each step is a reminder that there are so many women still fighting, and she's one of the lucky ones.

The final numbers are still being tallied but it looks like more than 11,000 people hit the pavement this morning.

The view from Sky News Six showed packed downtown streets with people registering up to the last minute to walk or run. The Komen Foundation estimates people donated more than $300,000 to help find a cure for breast cancer.

You can still donate through October 15th at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure web site.


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