Each person’s journey with breast cancer is different. Some individuals battle cancer for years, while others live with the disease for only weeks. Some have to undergo chemotherapy, while others take a daily dose of medication.

Belsano resident Tina Little lived with breast cancer for a short time, but while her experience was brief, it still came along with its challenges and hardships.

“I would say the hardest part was the radiation ... it was tiring,” Little said. “I just tried to never let any of it get me down.” 

Little, 63, said support from family and friends played a vital role for her as she fought the disease.

“No. 1 would absolutely be my family, my husband and my kids, and then our church group also,” she said. “Receiving cards from people I didn’t even know I’d have to say was so uplifting. It was really great.

“I felt that that was important to my healing because I knew people were out there praying,” Little said. 

“You just have to keep a good attitude about it.”

After discovering a lump in her breast in July of 2016, Little decided to make an appointment at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center. This is where Little would receive her breast cancer diagnosis.

While still processing the diagnosis, Little found herself already in surgery just days after learning she had the disease.

“It was only 10 days afterwards that they actually did the surgery,” she said. “We were real fortunate that it was able to move that quickly for us.”

Little underwent a lumpectomy procedure, radiation treatments and a daily dose of a chemo pill in the days to follow her diagnosis.

“I’ve been real fortunate that we discovered this as early as we did. That’s why I kind of push for everyone to please go get their mammograms done,” Little said. 

“The earlier it’s detected, the better chances you have to survive and be cancer free.

“Don’t be afraid to go and have it checked,” she said. 

“If anything, you should be afraid to not have it checked.”

As a breast cancer survivor, Little now helps to advocate for routine breast self-exams, and as an employee of the Ebensburg Center, she helps to raise funds each year that are donated to a local breast cancer center. 

“We’re having a soup cook-off and basket party. We do it every October,” Little said. “All the donations we make go down to the Joyce Murtha center.

“Last year, we were fortunate enough to raise $1,300. So I’m hoping that we at least meet that goal, but I’d love to see us go over it.”  

As Little continues to live her life beyond breast cancer, she thanks Dr. Deborah Sims and the rest of the staff at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center for their care and what she described as “going above and beyond.”

“Everyone there was so wonderful, and everything was taken care of in such a timely fashion,” Little said. “I think that was to my benefit.

“I guess my job on earth wasn’t finished yet.” 

 

Local events

Pink Ribbon Bagel: Through Oct. 31. Panera Bread in Richland Township will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber.

Richland girls soccer kick out cancer: 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Herlinger Field. There will be a pink boot for fans to make donations. Proceeds benefit Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber.

Walk-in mammography screening: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, UPMC Outpatient Center, 152 Zeman Drive, Ebensburg.

Central Cambria Pink Out: The school has decided to have one pink-out shirt for the entire district with each sport (fall, winter, spring) having its own pink-out night/event. Football’s night is Friday against Bishop McCort.

Penn Cambria Pink Out: Activities are set for Friday, when the Panthers host Richland.

Meyersdale Pink Out: On Friday, with North Star on the schedule, the Red Raiders will celebrate “Beat Cancer Night.”

Walk-in mammography screening: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, 10455 Lincoln Highway, Everett.

Richland Pink Out: The Richland Key Club has an annual fundraiser that falls on Oct. 25, the final home football game for the Rams, who will take on Chestnut Ridge. Students will have a table at the entrance with information and baskets to raffle to raise funds to donate to the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber.

Color Me Pink Run/Walk: 5K begins at 9 a.m. Oct. 26 and walk starts at 9:15 a.m. For the 5K run only, awards will be presented to the top male and female finishers as well as the top male and female in each age group. Register online at www.windbercare.org. For more information, call 814-467-3705. Event benefits Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center at Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center.

Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art Think Pink fundraiser: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1,

Blairmont Club, Hollidaysburg. Tickets are $125 per person. Reservations requested by Oct. 29 and can be made online at www.sama-art.org or by contacting the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona at

814-946-4464 or altoona@sama-art.org.

Ronald Fisher is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @FisherSince_82.

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