The Woman Behind Oklahoma City's Premier Cancer Center

Charles and Peggy Stephenson were the lead donors to make the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City a reality. But what some people may not know is that Peggy is a 25-year breast cancer survivor. She wants people in Northeast Oklahoma to know about the center, and know they're not alone.

Friday, November 10th 2023, 9:41 am

By: News On 6


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Most people are familiar with the premier cancer centers in the country; MD Anderson, The Mayo Clinic, or Sloan Kettering.

But for patients in Oklahoma, they can turn to the Stephenson Cancer Center in Oklahoma City.

Charles and Peggy Stephenson were the lead donors to make this center a reality.

But what some people may not know is that Peggy is a 25-year breast cancer survivor. She had gone in for a routine mammogram.

"I had not heard from my doctors. Then in February, I was buttoning my gown and I found this lump," Peggy recalled. "From there it was a journey to talk with doctors and see what I really wanted and back then there wasn't that much treatments for cancer, for breast cancer."

First came surgery then chemotherapy. She lost all her hair but used her experience to show others, including her grandkids, that she could do it.

She's grateful she had good doctors and great care but she knows that's not always the case for some patients.

So when then OU President David Boren came to Peggy and her husband, telling them about his vision for a world class center at OU Medicine, the timing seemed right.

"David had not known that I had had cancer. So we were walking and he said he was building a cancer center, this building would be a cancer center. And Charlie turned around to me and he said, 'Peggy, let us see what we can do about this,'" Peggy said.

That center opened in 2011 and achieved NCI designation in 2018. That's the gold standard in oncology research.

From time to time, Peggy stops by the center just to visit with patients.

"I have letters in a box right now. People that I meet every day. And it's wonderful to say I went to the Stephenson Cancer Center and I have been helped. So that's the joy," Peggy said.

Statistics indicate one in eight women will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. Mrs. Stephenson wanted to share her story so others won't be afraid to get their mammogram, to talk with their doctor, and get the necessary treatment.

She wanted people in Northeast Oklahoma to know about the center in OKC and know they're not alone.

CLICK HERE for more information about Stephenson Cancer Center.

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