"When I was 54 years old I went in for a routine mammogram, which I had been having done since I was 40. That year something showed up as abnormal, went through some more testing and biopsy and the result was that I had early stage breast cancer," explains Anne.
Anne's life has been impacted by cancer in more ways than one.
"My mom and dad died in their 60s from cancer, my brother died in his 50s from cancer and so it's had a major impact on my life even before I was diagnosed. Three years after I was diagnosed with cancer my husband developed cancer, and he's cancer free now too," Anne says.
Little did Anne know, though, she would not fight her battle against breast cancer alone. Another one of the thousands of women who would get a breast cancer diagnosis that year was very close to her. Two months after Anne was diagnosed, her good friend, Robin Neece, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"She had to go through a more arduous treatment than I did and the following year our friends, and family gathered a rallied around us and decided to have relay teams," says Anne.
This was the beginning of the Pink Lady Flamingos. Two relay teams, the Pink Flamingos and the Pink Ladies, joining to fight one battle. The team is made up of members that have been touched by cancer.
"We're a group of crazy ladies that get out there and have a great time at relay," Anne says.
Their main focus is to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
"For several years we had a plastic flock of pink flamingos that would fly around Amarillo and land in people's yards and they would have to pay $25 to get that flock to leave," explains Anne.
ACS uses money raised at events like Relay for Life to help people dealing with cancer of all kinds. Through support programs during and after treatment, to funding research programs across the country. The ACS is the largest nongovernmental not-for-profit funding source of cancer research and training in the United States. It invests more in breast cancer research than any other cancer type. That kind of monetary funding helps women, like Anne, focus on the fight against this frustrating disease.
"The American Cancer Society and Relay For Life has been a major focus for us because the ACS helped us so much as we went through our journey of cancer and having treatment afterwards," Anne says.
Anne's life will never be the same. She'll always be a cancer survivor, and because of that fight she'll forever know the love of a special group of Pink Lady Flamingos.
"Definitely friends, family, faith. My doctors were fantastic planning a treatment plan. My friends were there every step of the way supporting us," Anne says.
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