(Editor's Note: This is the first in a series in which area cancer survivors share their experiences with battling the disease and encourage others who are still putting up the fight. Randolph County's Relay For Life event will take place Saturday at Elkins High School.)
Learning that you have cancer is a shock. One day in March of 2003, Randolph County resident Cindee Campbell not only learned of her diagnosis, but that her mother, Bonnie Knotts, had breast cancer as well.
"I would never wish anyone to have cancer, but I am glad my mother and I had one another to help each other through our battle," Campbell said. "We found strength in helping one another through each new challenge; it helped me to worry about mom, as much as it helped her to worry about me, and was a great encouragement.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Cindee Campbell, above, and her mother, Bonnie Knotts, battled breast cancer together after being diagnosed with the disease in March of 2003.
"When someone so close to you is having the same symptoms, you tend to focus on helping them, and it help take your mind of your own worries," she said.
Campbell's mother, who is a teacher's aide in Tucker County, had chemotherapy, radiation treatment and a lumpectomy.
Campbell underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a mastectomy.
Once completed, Campbell found out she had a second, more rare type of cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.
Campbell said she had great doctors, a wonderful family, and fantastic friends to help her through her struggle.
"Friends brought food and helped encourage my winning attitude," said Campbell.
As Cindee reflects on her battle, she sends encouragement to others asking them to be strong.
"I look at my cancer as a gift from God, not one in a shiny box wrapped with a bow, but a gift of learning that if I have a greater purpose in life, and that I have survived to help others," she said.
"Don't focus on feeling sorry for yourself. Keep a positive attitude, win your struggle and help others see that you can survive."