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Surviving breast cancer 40 years later

Marie DeBose dedicating to helping women during their breast cancer journey

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Nearly 41 years ago Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer. She discovered it quite unexpectedly while her husband was teasing her as he often does, "He was on this side of me and instead of me reaching with this arm I did like this to punch him. That's what I was going to do and when I did this. This arm hit here and felt something really hard." 

And in that moment Marie knew ~ it was cancer, "And so I felt it and it scared me it was like you know. Just catch your breath."

Marie was only 38 at the time. A busy mother of five, working full time, going to college at night. Three weeks went by before she got another nudge of a different kind from her husband, "He said is it still there I said yes. He said did you call the doctor I said no and he said why not. And I said because if it's cancer I don't want to know. He said Marie if it's cancer you need to know."

 A call to her doctor led to the cancer diagnosis she feared and surgery. Marie turned to her faith, "I said ok Lord I have breast cancer but I'm not gonna die from it."

When Marie checked into the hospital for her surgery her room was filled with dozens of flowers sent from her co-workers, which had quite the affect on her, "I was like crying oh they think I'm gonna die that's why they sent all the flowers. So I was kind of a mess."

As she lay in the hospital waiting for her surgery one quote kept repeating in her mind, "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

And one woman did just that for Marie, "When she came in she really gave me some life about myself."

 A fellow breast cancer survivor who guided her through the process of breast reconstruction with hope and dignity.

And every since, for the past nearly 41 years, Marie has returned the favor to countless other women through mentoring, "I want women to have hope. I want them if they are diagnosed not to succumb to that disease but fight and stay positive about it."  Which is what Marie was able to do during her cancer journey thanks to her friend for life, "I'm just grateful to be here and grateful to be alive. And grateful for my husband saying if it's cancer you need to know."

Even Marie continues her dedication in the fight against breast cancer.  She has organized a mobile mammography screening at her church thru Spectrum Health's Betty Ford Breast Care Services  to continue her dedication in the fight against breast cancer

It's at the Grace for Nations ChurchSaturday October 23 starting at 9-am.

Call 877-495-2626 to schedule an appointment. 

RELATED VIDEO: Friends for Life: Celebrating 25 years of saving lives

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