Survivor Story

Writing Her Own Chapter…

It is a recurring theme. But it never gets old.

Jerilyn Hughes wants to help others. She says she is part of a sisterhood. Maybe her story could inspire another woman, perhaps lift her up during a low time.

We met Jerilyn at a women’s basketball recruiting event where she was there to support her daughter, Kenzie. It turns out Kenzie has been a big supporter of her mom, too.

Jerilyn was diagnosed with breast cancer in November after a routine mammogram.  The prognosis was good. It was a small spot on her left breast, caught early, likely to be managed with a lumpectomy and several rounds of radiation. Outlook: Strong.

But, for Jerilyn, it wasn’t just a question of outlook, it was a question of mentality. Who, or what, would write the story of Jerilyn’s life. She knew cancer was just a chapter, but she wanted to write it herself. More to the point, she wanted this chapter to have an ending.

Jerilyn began the process of researching her options. She wanted to have choices and make her own decisions. She decided to be proactive, to deliver the knock out blow to cancer herself. A bilateral mastectomy.

Jerilyn has two daughters. She is using her cancer to teach her daughters. They are very likely learning about science: The ins and outs of a bilateral mastectomy, reconstructive medicine; the difference in the blood supply for skin versus tissue. Beyond the technicalities, even more likely, their Mom is teaching them how to fight.

When the process is finished, Jerilyn will have had 5 surgeries. One of those surgeries revealed that the cancer was not as small as it was once thought to be, it was actually all over her left breast. Thank goodness Jerilyn’s fight against cancer began with a fight for the course of action she wanted.

Action. Not treatment. Treatment implies a reactive approach. Jerilyn is not reactive – neither was Coach Yow. The comparison of two women, two survivors, moves beyond a diagnosis and on to a mentality. A mentality to fight and to win. Coach Yow won her battle against cancer by starting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Jerilyn will win her battle by helping other women fight and win their own battles.

It is a common thread among survivors: Each wanting to elevate the next, until the day this chapter ends.


To Donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, click here.

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