Breast Cancer Fundraiser

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Breast Cancer Fundraiser
Kristen Ross

October is breast cancer awareness month. To mark that, and to help spread awareness, ice legend and breast cancer survivor Peggy Fleming spoke to a packed crowd at the Hilton Monday morning.

Her visit was part of the 4th annual Surviving and Thriving Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon.

Fleming shared what life was like after being diagnosed with breast cancer almost 30 years to the day after winning the Gold medal.

"I think I faced it like it was just another competition and I wanted to win. I just rolled up my sleeves and I just said to the doctors tell me what I need to do, and I'm gonna do it, and I'm gonna be the best patient you've ever had. So they became my coaches, instead of skating coaches I had doctor coaches," said Fleming.

The American Cancer Society estimates one of every eight woman will get breast cancer. In the Brazos Valley approximately 132 women are diagnosed every year. Another 29 will die from the disease.

Reba Ragsdale, a local survivor, said, "The hardest struggle for me, was not having the energy I liked to have. My thought was that I'd rather take anything they had in their arsenal to get rid of that cancer. You know to do whatever I had to do for a year to two years so that I could enjoy the rest of my life. And I have been so blessed because that is exactly what happened. "

Ragsdale is heavily involved with the Surviving and Thriving Luncheon. Over the past four years she's served as as both co-chair and founding committee member of the event.

"I'm a twelve year breast cancer survivor and I feel I am alive today because of research that was done before I was ever diagnosed with breast cancer. That's one of the reasons why I have such a passion for helping to raise money for breast cancer research," said Ragsdale.

An estimated 13-thousand new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in Texas by the end of the year. However, death rates have decreased due to earlier detection through screening, increased awareness and improved treatment.

Fleming hopes this luncheon will make women aware of the importance of testing and early detection and remind women that it can happen to anyone, anytime. "Cancer doesn't care who you are. Even when you're doing everything right it can slip right in there if you aren't participating," said Fleming.

The proceeds from the luncheon will go to both the St. Joseph Regional Health Center and the American Cancer Society.