LeAnne Taylor, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Each week, I will be counting down to this year's Komen Race for the Cure in Tulsa. We will be featuring stories of Oklahomans who have been touched by breast cancer.
This week, I meet a Tulsa couple who have traveled this road together in a most unique journey.
Paul and Connie Brown have been sweethearts since high school. Even though they attended different colleges, the two knew one day they'd be married. And they were.
The couple just celebrated their 50th anniversary earlier this year, but they both have shared something else, a diagnosis of breast cancer.
"They're really surprised when they find out I had breast cancer and both of us at the same time. They're a little bit surprised, no I didn't give it to her," said Paul Brown, breast cancer survivor.
Paul was diagnosed in late 2001.
"It was of course a complete shock cause I've had 20 physicals during my life so for something like that to pop up and I try to stay healthy those kinds of things. The odds are pretty slim but here we are," said Paul Brown.
According to the American Cancer Society, 2,140 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. 450 will die. Compare that to women, more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and nearly 40,000 will die.
For Connie, her diagnosis came in January 2010.
"It was our 49th anniversary and they called me that day and they said Ms. Brown, you have cancer and I thought OK, I have to live with it," said Connie Brown, breast cancer survivor.
Her doctor recommended a double mastectomy.
"He said it's so aggressive that they advise you that you take off both. That way if you had a recurrence it would be gone," said Connie Brown.
Marriage vows say in sickness and in health. Connie and Paul were there for each other as they both traveled this journey. It's changed them both for the better.
"I know we used to sit in our own chairs watching TV but now I find we're sitting like this all the time and he holds my hand driving so he's real romantic now," said Connie Brown.
Both Connie and Paul are willing to share their stories to help others and they want women and men to pay attention to their bodies.
"And don't be afraid to go to the doctor for a biopsy or mammogram, whatever it takes because it's your life and it's worth saving," said Connie Brown.
Paul and Connie will be participating in this year's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
In fact, Paul told me they plan to join my team!
Registration is underway, so if you're interested in putting together a team or joining my team, it's very simple to sign up to race.
The race is Saturday September 17, 2011 and it's moving to ONEOK Field. The race will take place through downtown Tulsa and 75 cents out of every dollar stays right here in Tulsa to help others battling breast cancer.