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Four Meade Countians chosen to walk in Kentucky Oaks Survivor Walk

Submitted by Bev Morrison  For the 12th year, the Survivors Parade will take place on Kentucky Oaks Day, Friday, September 4th, 2020! The Survivors Parade is a march of breast and ovarian cancer survivors, which takes place on Churchill Downs’ historic racetrack. 146 breast and ovarian cancer survivors will walk in the parade prior to the 146th running of the Longines Kentucky Oaks race.  Kentucky Oaks fans were invited to nominate themselves, a relative, or a friend who has survived breast and/or ovarian cancer by sharing their survivor's battle story. Four local women, Diann Fackler Shireman, Joy Ammons, Joy Adams, and Dottie Mills were nominated by friends and relatives. Once the four Meade County nominees were submitted and approved, voting began. Here are the nominations that were received:  I would like to nominate my dear friend, Diann Shireman, to Walk in the 2020 Oaks Survivor Parade. Diagnosed with breast cancer and having had surgery in September of 2009, she had been cancer free for almost 10 years until recently when she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Currently on medication, she is a member of the Meade County Breast Cancer Survivor Support Group and attends regularly, sharing her experiences and supporting others. Please vote for this wonderful woman. Our support group loves her!  Cancer Free Since September 6, 2019. Cancer isn’t easy to live through, but Joy sure has made it look that way. In February of last year, testing revealed she had invasive ductal carcinoma in her left breast. As a carrier of the BRCA2 gene, she underwent a double mastectomy in March and began sixteen rounds of chemo thereafter. Throughout 2019, Joy showed nothing but strength and grace in the face of this disease. Even on her hardest days, which surely there were many, she put on a brave face and showed the rest of us what a fighter truly looks like. Just as her name suggests, Joy is a loving wife and daughter, devoted mother, and a loyal friend. She has been cancer free since September and continues to celebrate life every day, reminding us to treasure the little moments and not to take life for granted (or too seriously!). In her words: “cancer can take my hair, my energy, and my breasts, but I refuse to let it take my faith and trust in God”. Joy, we look to celebrate you on Oaks Day just as we do every day that we are lucky enough to still have you around.  Cancer Free Since March 17, 2004. Fifth grade is a hazy blur in my mind. I remember dad sitting down with my five-year-old sister and me to explain that mom had a lump in her chest, one that was making her sick. The months following were filled with visitors, flowers, and more lasagna than my family could’ve eaten in a lifetime. Two surgeries and twelve weeks of chemotherapy. I will never understand why one girl loses her mother to breast cancer while I get to FaceTime mine every day. Why some girls mourn, but my mother was declared cancer-free on St. Patrick’s Day in 2004. Since then, I have watched my mother meet with fear-filled women to explain what happens when you undergo a mastectomy. I have watched her give her number to a “friend of a friend” who just received a diagnosis. I have watched her pour into community, educating young minds and giving endlessly to our small town. I am nominating my mother for the Oaks Day Survivor’s Parade because she embodies much more than herself—she represents the countless faces that came to our door during those difficult months, bringing flowers or lending a hand with the lawn. She represents the women she continues to serve, the children she so faithfully teaches, and the two daughters she raised with courage. I do not understand why my mother survived—but I pray that more mothers and daughters and sisters may join her on the journey toward life.  My mom fought breast cancer almost 20 years ago and was diagnosed again in Feb 2019. She is an amazing mother, wife, grandmother, and friend. We were blessed to walk In the Survivor parade once, and she never wanted to reapply because she wanted everyone to know the chance. Now fighting it for a second time, I know she deserves to participate again.  Fans shared their survivor's story with their coworkers, family and friends to build awareness and to garner enough votes for the women to walk. Many women all over the United States were nominated, but only the top 146 vote getters were chosen.  Other local women who have walked the survivor’s walk say it was the most “inspiring experience”. The survivor receives two tickets, two boxed lunches, a beautiful pink lily, and walk with other survivor and the person they choose to walk with them (spouse, caregiver, friend or family member) on the track with someone holding a placard indicating the number of years they have been cancer free.

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